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ALOFI, Niue (Niue News, Dec. 14) – The Niue government has issued two new fishing licenses, bringing the total thus far to four.

They are for New Zealand long-liners to fish inside the country’s territorial waters.

Kim Gordon, the general manager of Reef Group, which has established a fish processor on the island, says six more boats from New Zealand are also applying for licenses to fish in Niue waters.

She says the license spells out how close to the shore boats can fish, and that a Niuean must be trained as part of the crew.

Gordon says if all 10 licenses are approved, it will inject millions of dollars into the Niue economy.

"I'm very excited. The people who are coming on board are very committed to the long term future of Niue and the sustainability of the fish processing plant," she said.

Meanwhile, President Joseph Urusemal of the Federated States of Micronesia has told the inaugural meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention in Pohnpei it was essential that a new tuna monitoring body in the Pacific set limits on fishing in the region to conserve the world’s largest tuna resource.

He said that Pacific islands needed to reap more than just the benefits of licensing revenue from fishing that is now largely done by distant water fishing nations, urging the 200 representatives of more than 26 nations to promote development of domestic fleets that will lead to investment and employment opportunities in the islands.

There is great urgency in the new agency’s work because the catch of tuna has risen from just 400,000 tons in the late 1960s to two million tons in recent years, said Urusemal, adding that the number of nations fishing has also skyrocketed from just eight to 26.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention for the first time will regulate fishing on the high seas — an area of the ocean never before monitored.

December 16, 2004

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