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Bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus. (Photo Credit: Allen Shimada, NOAA NMFS OST)

OPRT urges for effective Pacific tuna management

  (JAPAN, 8/22/2013)

Following a meeting held in Tokyo, the Organization for the Promotion of Responsible Tuna Fisheries (OPRT) members concluded ‘the tuna fishery in the Central and Western Pacific ocean will be extinct unless actions are taken.’

Eight members of the NGO representing the tuna longline industry in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, China, the Seychelles, and Vanuatu, who participated in the meeting held in June, and other eight members expressed their views to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, (WCPFC) in a letter addressed to Professor Glenn Hurry, Executive Director of the Commission.

Concerned about the deficient management and dwindling numbers of the current tuna stock, particularly the bigeye tuna species (Thunnus obesus), through the letter the NGO urges the establishment of an effective and fair multi-year management programme to be implemented between 2014 and 2017.

The NGO members welcomed the fact that the Commission acknowledged its failure regarding the tuna stock management, stating that "since the foundation of the WCPFC, a number of resolutions (and Conservation and Management Measures), were developed to mitigate the overfishing of bigeye and yellowfin tuna and to limit the growth of fishing capacity in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and that these measures have been unsuccessful in either restricting the apparent growth of fishing capacity or reducing the fishing mortality of bigeye or juvenile yellowfin tuna”. 

In an effort to revert the situation, the WCPFC is going to hold a working group meeting from 27 to 30 August in Tokyo. One of the aims of the project is to develop a draft for a multi-year management programme to be implemented between 2014 and 2017. The programme will be established at the WCPFC annual meeting in December.

The OPRT recognizes that stopping the current fishing practices is not an easy task. Among other things, it emphasizes the need to put a limit to the number of large-scale purse seiners, so it does not continue increasing.

Besides, it considers the recent increase in fishing capacity of small-scale longliners is a problem and requests it should be seriously addressed.

Moreover, it argues that the vessel day scheme (VDS) is not adequate to control fishing by purse seiners in the region, and that, in fact, it has increased the fishing effort of this fleet. Therefore, it suggests that the scheme must be analyzed scientifically, from the point of view of its effectiveness and the conservation and management of tuna resources.
 

By Gabriela Raffaele
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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