Pew: Japan, China, US, others overfishing Pacific tuna

Japan, China, the U.S., Indonesia, Chinese Taipei and South Korea have been named by Pew Charitable Trusts on a “shame list” of countries responsible for overfishing tuna in the Pacific.

According to Pew, the “Pacific 6” are responsible for 80 percent — 111,482 metric tons in 2011 — of the annual catch of bigeye tuna.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) will negotiate today on an action plan to end overfishing of bigeye tuna by 2018.

“The WCPFC has a unique and important responsibility as custodian of the world’s largest tuna fishery in an area covering 20 percent of the Earth’s surface,” Amanda Nickson, Pew’s global tuna conservation program director. “Member countries have a responsibility to end overfishing of bigeye tuna by 2018 and take action to rebuild the severely depleted Pacific bluefin population – now at just 3.6 percent of unfished levels.”

Pew said if the WCPFC again fails to act and implement urgently needed management measures, fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna should be suspended until evidence-based initiatives and

"Not only must the threat of illegal fishing be met head-on, but action is also urgently needed to limit the damage caused by fishing gears such as longlines, wire leaders, and fish aggregating devices, including bycatch of other species such as sharks, many species of which are endangered in the convention area as a result of highly unregulated longline fishing," Nickson said.

As part of its analysis, Pew has outlined to members of the WCPFC that, in 2012, the tuna fishery in the Western and Central Pacific peaked, both in terms of catch and value.


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