WWF calls for stricter rules on Pacific bluefin tuna fishing

Published on
October 5, 2016

Ahead of meetings this month about catch limits and rules governing tropical tuna, the World Wildlife federation is calling for strict catch limits on Pacific bluefin tuna.

The Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) meets 10 to 14 October in La Jolla, California, U.S.A., to discuss tropical tuna regulations. The IATTC failed to reach an agreement about tuna limits and rules at its annual meeting in June.

“The Pacific bluefin stock is in a dire state. The Commission urgently needs to expand the size threshold of juvenile Pacific bluefin tuna from the current 30 kg. to 85 kg., and introduce a catch limit for adult Pacific bluefin tuna,” said Pablo Guerrero, WWF Eastern Pacific Ocean tuna coordinator said. “We believe that unless a Pacific-wide, robust rebuilding and management plan is agreed, it will be necessary to suspend commercial fishing of this species. This is the only way to end overfishing and to provide hope for a future recovery of the stock as well as for the fisheries targeting the Pacific bluefin.”

WWF is also urging the IATTC to “adopt effective measures to avoid an increase in fishing mortality for all tropical tuna,” the organization said in a statement. To that end, WWF wants the commission to reduce the capacity of the purse seine fleet, prolong the length of the purse seine fishery closure from 62 to 87 days, as recommended by the scientific staff of the IATTC, and extend the time and area closure known as “El Corralito.”

“WWF also supports effective alternative actions such as a quota management program with good monitoring and enforcement,” WWF said.

The IATTC should also address the growing concerns for the safety of observers aboard tuna vessels, according to WWF.

“After recent tragedies involving observers in the areas of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the IATTC, member states should urgently adopt measures for the safety of the fishing observer, and security standards compatible with those adopted by the WCPFC last year,” WWF said.

WWF supports the proposal submitted by the United Sates regarding the improvement of observer safety, and calls upon the IATTC to adopt the resolution “in order to preserve the valuable human capital of their observer programs, which constitute the cornerstone of the management system of the commission.”

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