SUPPORT AND RESERVATIONS IN COOK ISLANDS CABINET OVER FISHING DEAL

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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (January 5, 2001 - Radio Australia)---The Cook Islands government has reservations about a fishing project proposed by two Australian businessmen.

The Cabinet has confirmed that a South Australian Company, Rock Lobster, wants to invest up to 60 million dollars, including the purchase of 25 long-line fishing boats and the building of a fish processing facility.

Marine Resources Minister Robert Woonton said the project could make marine resources even bigger than the tourism industry, now the country’s leading revenue earner.

He told Cook Islands News that there is support within the Cabinet for the project as well as reservations, but "due process" has been followed and the background of the Rock Lobster Company checked out.

He said the government has not been asked to contribute any funding to the proposed project.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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