NZ calls on PNA to respect Pacific leaders

New Zealand's Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development says the Parties to the Nauru Agreement should respect the wishes of Pacific leaders on how to manage regional fisheries.

This comes after scathing criticism from the PNA chief executive after the Pacific Island Forum leaders decision to look into the merits of replacing the PNA's Vessel Day Scheme with a New Zealand style quota management system.

New Zealand's Shane Jones says regional leaders want a year given to look into the future of tuna fisheries management in the Pacific and he says the PNA should heed their wishes.

"New Zealand is going to continue to support fisheries administration, fisheries management throughout the Pacific. It would be derelict for Kiwis not to acknowledge science is showing pressures upon sustainability are growing and growing. So what is needed is a total allowable catch so we don't have too many vessels or too much effort chasing too few fish."

Earlier, the chief executive of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, Transform Aqorau, said a quota-based fisheries system wouldn't work in the Pacific.

Dr Aqorau says the only areas in which unsustainable catches are occurring are those outside the control of its Vessel Day Scheme.

"A lot of those statements are, they are not made with a good understanding of what is happening on the ground in the fisheries. And I think their hearts are in the right place but they need to learn a little bit more about our fisheries and not just simply apply what they think can work in New Zealand to the Pacific Islands."

At last week's Pacific Islands Forum summit in Port Moresby, fisheries ministers from all Forum nations were invited to New Zealand to examine the management system in place.

New Zealand is to provide US$30 million over the next three years to help the region change the way it manages declining fish stocks. Australia also announced it would invest US$13 million into maritime surveillance within the region to help police the fisheries.