ISSF: WCPFC’s actions ‘fall short’


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
December 14, 2009

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation on Tuesday called out the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) for failing to temporarily close the purse seine tuna fishery in the western and central Pacific to protect the ailing resource.

The WCPFC met last week in Papeete, Tahiti, to set tuna management measures in the western and central Pacific for 2010.

“A key obstacle to the recovery of this region’s bigeye stock is the continued capture of juvenile tuna in the purse seine fishery and the significant bigeye catch by longline vessels operating in the area,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson.

“What did not happen in Tahiti this week underscores the need for continuing research into reducing bycatch in tuna fisheries and creating a set of global best practices for use in every purse seine fishery. ISSF has been and continues to work with scientists and fishermen on this important aspect of sustainability,” added Jackson.

“We are pleased that all nations engaged in serious and thoughtful dialogue on the need for increased cooperation in the region. ISSF is hopeful that such talk bears fruit in the near future.”

However, the WCPFC agreed not to increase the number of fishing vessels and the number of days they can fish for bluefin tuna in the Pacific in 2010 from the 2002-04 levels. The agency said the bluefin tuna catch has totaled roughly 15,000 metric tons annually since 2002.

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