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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands Herald, April 26) - Earnings for the 2003 year from fresh and chilled fish look set to top $12 million, nearly doubling the take from the year before, according to the Ministry of Marine Resources.

Speaking to the Herald on Monday, Marine statistician Andrew Johns advised that earnings from the northern fishery would be around $5.1 million, up from $3.1 million in 2002, and the estimated earnings from the southern fishery is expected to be around $7 million, compared with $3.2 million in 2002.

The projected earnings for fish in the Budget Policy Statement issued in March was put at a conservative $6 million for the 2003/2004 year, rising to $7.2 million in the 2005/2006 year.

With the Ministry labeling 2003 as a poor year in respect of productivity, 2004 is expected to be better with an improvement in weather conditions following two years of relatively warm seas.

There were 44 vessels in operation at various times during 2003, compared to 19 in 2002.

A total of around 2,400 metric tons of fish were landed in 2003.

Johns says that with improved technique and conditions, the potential catch in the 2004 season, May to December, could reach 7,000 to 8,000 tons.

April 28, 2004

The Cook Islands Herald:


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