Tuesday, April 28

Anti-purse seine march on Rarotonga

Last Friday's (24 April) seine fishing protest march received plenty of coverage from Cook Islands News and CITV both before and after the event.
About 400 people, young and old, marched through Avarua, Rarotonga, on Friday afternoon 24 April 2015. They were trying to convince the prime minister, Henry Puna and ministry of marine resources secretary, Ben Ponia that purse seining should not be allowed in Cook Islands waters. So far their calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
Environmental NGO Te Ipukarea Society originally argued that new fishing licences should be halted, but so many members of the public wanted a total ban on purse seiners that TIS joined in their call.
The PM and MMR secretary have both said that the purse seining industry should be based on science and not sentiment but although TIS has asked to see the scientific reports none have been forthcoming.
A quick Google search for 'purse seining in the Pacific' produces plenty of 'anti' reports (most of them from Greenpeace) but 'pro' or even neutral reports are harder to find.
Radio New Zealand carried a story:

(Protest in Cooks leads to fishing argument over bans

And Cook Islands News reported comments by the prime minister:

(Two sides to purse seining story, says PM

However the protesters were not convinced.

(Passionate protestors want purse seining ban


It's unlikely that either the PM or Marine Resouces will come up with more scientific evidence than they've produced so far (ie none). However they are in a position to ignore the worries of the protesters. They both spend rather a lot of time off the island - maybe they hope everything will be forgotten when they get back to work. Maybe they're right. Time will tell.