By RONALD TOITO’ONA, Pacificmedia@WCPFC13
DENARAU, FIJI– Journalists in the Pacific can play an important role when it comes to the Safety of Fisheries Observers on board the foreign fishing fleets.
This is the view of leading Observer expert, Bubba Cook, , when asked about the current investigations of 5 Observers that went missing or pronounced dead in the Pacific seas over the past years.
Their cases were being dealt with by the responsible authority but the investigations are still pending, because details are sketchy, and information is sparse
“I think that there is a very important role for journalism to play in this regard to dig for the details in these stories, said Mr Cook, WWF’s program manager for Central and Western Pacific tuna
“Because, the details are not being reported to the commission and there are not being recorded, they are not being compiled,” he said.
Even key figures in the industry are not aware of how bad conditions can be on board tuna boats.
Cook said during last week’s WCPFC meeting in Nadi, an industry member who approached him was surprised to hear there were these five observers missing over six years.
“That is part of the problem this is not getting communicated to people as part of the process in this part of the region.
“And journalism can play a very important role in pushing for that information and getting that information available and getting those details out to the public,” Mr Cook added.
He said, this is an issue that needs to be dealt with due to its seriousness.
Three of the Observers are from Papua New Guinea, one from Fiji, and another from the United States of America (USA).
It was understood that, this year’s Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) has the biggest coverage in the region, by journalists from around the Pacific.–ENDS