Tuna Commission Fails to Reach Agreement on Pacific Tuna
The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) at its annual meeting in Panama City last week for the fourth time failed to produce a conservation agreement to combat tuna overfishing in the Eastern Pacific, a consortium of conservation and fishing groups, including World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and the National Fisheries Institute, reported yesterday.
According to the IATTC, bigeye and yellowfin tuna populations are declining and average capture size is decreasing, while fishing capacity, effort and efficiency are on the rise and the high capture rate of juveniles is exacerbating the population decline.
Conservation and fishing groups are urging the IATTC to take action, but most management options considered by the commission fell far short of the minimum recommendations by IATTC scientists. That, combined with some member countries' reluctance to negotiate, blocked the adoption of an agreement, according to the groups.
Despite setbacks, the meeting was a victory for transparency and inclusion of non-fishing groups in the discussions, said the groups. The parties to the IATTC accepted a U.S. proposal that allowed a representative of non-governmental organizations to participate with member countries in closed-door negotiating sessions.
The next IATTC meeting will take place in La Jolla, Calif., in October.