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SUVA, Fiji Islands (March 2, 1999 - PACNEWS/INCL)---The Secretary General of the International Sea Bed Authority, Dr. Satya Nandan, has warned that tuna resources in the Pacific face depletion if island nations continue to over issue fishing licenses.

Dr. Nandan, in Fiji for talks with government officials, said there is a real danger to the long term survival of commercial tuna stocks if excessive numbers of licenses are issued to distant water fishing nations for short-term monetary gain.

He said he hopes, however, that a proposed fisheries convention being negotiated between island countries and distant water fishing nations will help conserve and manage the Pacific tuna supply.

Dr. Nandan said the new convention, covering the central and western Pacific, is likely to be in place by June next year.

He also expressed concern about the growing number of Pacific Islanders eating canned fish.

He is saddened by the change in eating habits among islanders, Dr. Nandan said, adding that instead of maintaining their traditional fishing practices and eating fresh fish, more and more people seem to be getting lazy and resorting to the easy way out.

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