Cook Is­lands op­po­si­tion against pro­posed EU tuna deal

Fiji Sun - - Business -

The Cook Is­lands op­po­si­tion says it will stand against the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed purse seine agree­ment with the Euro­pean Union. The US$6.5 mil­lion dol­lar deal has the cab­i­net’s back­ing and, if signed, would grant ac­cess to four EU purse sein­ers to catch up to 7000 tonnes of tuna a year in the Cook Is­lands’ ex­pan­sive Exclusive Eco­nomic Zone. The agree­ment would be for eight years, but re­port­edly has tacit ap­proval to con­tinue even longer. The coun­try’s new op­po­si­tion leader, Teina Bishop, said he was against the agree­ment be­cause it in­volved so-called su­per purse sein­ers, and be­cause 4000 Cook Is­lan­ders have signed a pe­ti­tion op­pos­ing the move. “My be­lief is that we should go through­out the process of a se­lect com­mit­tee to can­vas the views of our peo­ple and come back with a re­port to par­lia­ment be­fore gov­ern­ment or any­body else should sign any agree­ment with the EU,” Mr Bishop said. “Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the prin­ci­ple of democ­racy where it is the gov­ern­ment of the peo­ple, for the peo­ple and by the peo­ple.” Ear­lier this month, Cook Is­lands Prime Min­is­ter, Henry Puna, said the Pa­cific was pur­su­ing the best course for the fu­ture of the re­gion’s fish­eries, and the Sus­tain­able Fish­eries Partnership Agree­ment il­lus­trated how the Cook Is­lands was co­op­er­at­ing at the broader in­ter­na­tional level.

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