Bluefin tuna. (Photo Credit: Greenpeace)
Tri Marine International requests control over Pacific bluefin tuna overfishing
Friday, September 20, 2013, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Tri Marine International, the world's largest tuna firm, has called for tuna stock control and the promotion of fishing sustainability in the Pacific in the framework of the 2013 Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Pacific Tuna Conference.
The FFA Forum, which was held in Honiara, in the Solomon Islands and lasted two days,sought to analyse how to extend the tuna investment base in the region.
The FFA is a local organization that aids Pacific countries to develop and control their tuna fisheries.
In this regards, Phil Roberts, Tri Marine International’s Managing Director, in an interview with Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat said industry groups have joined their efforts in trying to limit the fishing quota of the Pacific bluefin tuna in a conservationist move to protect it and stop the drastic decline in stock numbers.
Roberts was very critical of the FFA Vessel Day Monitoring Scheme, which presumably promotes sustainability, saying the number of registered fishing vessels had gone up from 200 to 290 in the past five years further remarking that as a means of limiting fishing the scheme had proved inefficient.
The director also pointed out that the market for sustainable tuna was growing and went on to add that: "Consumers everywhere are more and more attuned to the issues around sustainability and the practices used in catching."
Tri Marine International trades tuna valued around USD 1 billion every year through its Singapore office.
During the FFA conference, the Pacific Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) drilled the message of "impact of subsidies’ home" on local operations within the sector.
PITIA considered there were few investment opportunities in the region and pointed out the fact that high production costs and direct competition posed by distant water fleets were significant challenges.
PITIA’s Chairman, Charles Hufflett, said the region had its strengths but stressed the importance of tackling "roadblocks and issues." He went on to add: “It is impossible to develop a domestic catching sector when you sell to the same market as your competitor, who incurs almost half your cost”.
From Hufflett's viewpoint, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) has failed to manage this fishery and as a result very high catches have impacted cost per unit effort to the point where it’s no longer economically viable to fish, let alone compete.
FFA's 17 Pacific Island members are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
By Gabriela Raffaele