Tuna observer programme under threat

The SPC says that the tuna observer training programmes are vital to the industry The SPC says that the tuna observer training programmes are vital to the industry

Following the news that training programmes in Pacific fisheries may be axed by the EU, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and fisheries representatives have argued that tuna observer training programme funding should be maintained.

Industry representatives gathered at the Heads of Fisheries meeting this week, convened by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), to discuss the importance of the programmes, which are carried out by the international organisation.

Currently, funding for the training is donated by New Zealand and the European Union but, with some due to end this year and in 2014, the SPC’s ability to offer training programmes is under threat.

Mike Batty, director, SPC’s fisheries programme, said: “This at-sea monitoring is vital to keep the tuna industry in good shape. The industry already pays many direct costs of observer placement but it will take time to get them to absorb training costs.”

The SPC says more observers are needed quickly, but its end aim is to help Pacific countries to train their own observers.

Observers work onboard fishing vessels where they take samples of tuna and record size, type and catch location, which is part of a major scientific programme to monitor the health of the tuna industry in the Pacific.

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