PACIFIC FORUM LEADERS ENDORSE FISHING CONTROLS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Oct. 26) - Pacific Island Leaders have taken the lead role in the battle against destructive fishing practices after they endorsed a declaration on deep sea bottom trawling.

The declaration was endorsed on Tuesday at the 37th Pacific Leaders Forum being held in Nadi.

It commits the nations in the region to take urgent action to prevent deep sea trawling. Deep sea bottom trawling is one of the most destructive methods of fishing because fishermen drag enormous trawl nets, some as large as football fields, along the sea floor.

The heavy steel rollers that weigh the net down indiscriminately smash corals as the net swallows everything in its path.

Scientists estimate that billions of dollars in revenue is lost as a result of this destruction of the ocean's seabeds.

During the leaders retreat on Tuesday, the 16 Heads of State agreed to issue a strong declaration that protected the biodiversity in the high seas and also within their exclusive economic zones.

Under the declaration, Pacific countries are to advocate for an interim prohibition on high seas bottom trawling.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific has commended the leaders for their action. Its political advisor Seni Nabou said the decision by the leaders was vital to the protection of Pacific livelihoods.

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