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Chinese Reconfirm Stop On Tuna Purse Seine Building

Chinese authorities have reconfirmed a stop on further construction of tuna purse seine vessels since September this year. The Economic and Trade Section of the People’s Republic of China reacted to an article in the Samoa Observer that stated there were 1300 Chinese tuna vessels fishing in the South Pacific Ocean.

Officials in China outlined that the information was false and while there are around 1000 Chinese flagged tuna vessels fishing worldwide, there are no more than 400 in the Pacific region, which is within the limits of the WCPFC.

In response to the article mentioning that by 2015, China plans to add an additional 300 vessels in the South Pacific, the Chinese Embassy stressed that relevant authorities in China had already stopped approving further application on building tuna purse seiners.

The reaction added: “The operation of these fishing vessels is good for the cooperation between China and the PICs (Pacific Island Countries), good for some PICs to realize their aspiration to develop the tuna fishery, and conforms to the principle of optimum utilization of fish stock provided in the relevant international documents.”

“Secondly, according to the law of Samoa, foreign fishing vessels are prohibited to enter the EEZ (exclusive economic zone) of Samoa.”

The Chinese Embassy outlined that to its knowledge there was no negotiations between the Chinese government, private companies and the Samoan government for that practice to change.