Friday 12th May 2000
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Sealord has revealed it is fighting to safeguard a major orange roughy grounds it has discovered to protect it from international fishing plunder.
The roughy grounds in the sub-Antarctic waters of the Indian Ocean were found by Sealord scientists a year ago.
Sealord has trawled roughy during subsequent proving voyages from stocks roughly estimated to be worth at least $1 billion.
On one such trip, it was "found" fishing the stock by another vessel. Now there are reports of dozens of trawlers heading for the sea-mount region east of Mauritius.
Chief executive Phil Lough said the company was now working with governments in South Africa, Mauritius, Australia and New Zealand to put an international control system in place. "We are determined to find some controls to avoid a run-away situation," he said.
If a control regime cannot be worked through, the newly- discovered orange roughy resource faces the same fate as the prized Patagonian toothfish found nearby and stripped by an international pirate fleet to overfished status in two seasons.
Such a multinational control regime already functions between Australia and New Zealand on the South Tasman Rise, in the sub-Antarctic waters below Australia.
Sealord also found and developed the major orange roughy fishery in Namibian territorial waters.
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