While the society’s New Zealand lawyers are representing them free of charge, TIS still needs to fundraise to cover the costs of their lawyers’ airfares and accommodation, as well as some administration costs.
TIS technical director Kelvin Passfield says the total amount needed is $6320. “We have already circulated an email to our Te Ipukarea Society members and supporters, and received a positive response,” said Passfield.
But while more than $1000 was raised locally – including $500 donated by “one very generous lady from Titikaveka” – that still left more than $5000 to be raised, which is where Givealittle comes in.
Created on April 27, the Givealittle page has so far raised $750, with donations ranging from as little as $5 to as much as $100.
Passfield admits that the page “has not been as successful as we hoped”, but says that TIS is “still networking that Givealittle link with people here and overseas, and we are hopeful of receiving further funds before the page expires in about one week”.
Those here in the Cook Islands wanting to contribute still can of course – preferably by donating directly to the TIS BCI bank account, says Passfield.
“Bank account number 82853 S15, using reference ‘purse seine’ to identify the funds,” he explains.
“This is preferable as Givealittle take five per cent of funds raised for administration. Anything at all is appreciated, from $1 or more. One very generous lady from Titikaveka gave us $500!”
Referring to the current appeal, which was heard by three judges in the Cook Islands Court of Appeal on April 30 and May 1, Passfield said that TIS has “taken this case to the Court of Appeal on behalf of the people of the Cook Islands, and beyond, to help conserve our fish”.
“Our main concern is the use of drifting fish aggregation devices (DFADS) by the purse seiners because of the high level of non-target species being caught – fish that locals rely on.
“We want to ensure that future generations can enjoy eating fresh, wild-caught tuna as we do today, and not rely on tilapia or farmed salmon or other species that are fed on formulated feeds containing hormones and antibiotics.”