Monday, August 9, 2004

Pacific island nations
want more tuna profits

APIA, Samoa >> Pacific island nations have agreed to press Asian, American and other foreign fishing fleets for a greater share of the $2 billion-plus annual tuna catch in the South Pacific, officials said.

Leaders of the 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum agreed over the weekend to "considerably" boost tuna revenues, said Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Pacific island states only get 5 percent to 8 percent of the annual catch of 1 million tons of tuna -- worth more than $2 billion -- in the region's waters, said Feleti Teo, director of the Forum Fisheries Agency.

Revenue from tuna fishing is a primary income source for many small South Pacific countries, he added.

About 1,000 foreign, mainly Asian, vessels are registered with the agency to catch tuna in the South Pacific.



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