WWF: Pacific bluefin stock recovery plan needed now

Published on
September 1, 2015

It’s time for members of the Northern Committee (NC) of the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission (WCPFC) to buckle down and commit to a rigorous recovery plan for collapsed Pacific Bluefin tuna stocks, urged the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Catch limits for tuna weighing in at less than 30 kg should also be considered, according to the WWF.

"We are deeply concerned about the fact that Pacific Bluefin tuna breeding stock have declined from their unfished levels by more than 96 percent," said Aiko Yamauchi, WWF-Japan Head of Fishery and Seafood Project. "Around 90 percent of the fishing take is now young fish that have not yet reproduced. It is clear that Pacific Bluefin tuna management in the Pacific is totally inadequate to preserve the tuna stock."

While the initial steps to preserve Pacific Bluefin were taken by the nine members of the Northern Committee in September 2014 – by concurring with scientific advice to halve the fishing catch of juvenile tuna – the real urgency now lies in adopting a long-term recovery plan for the struggling fish stocks, one complete with “robust harvest control rules and effective mechanisms to cut fishing effort when limits and reference points are being approached,” argued the NGO.

"In case NC fails to agree on robust long-term recovery plan, which should include at least a 20 percent recovery target for the spawning stock biomass (SSB) size before fishing can take place, fishing Pacific Bluefin tuna should be suspended until precautionary, science-based measures are put in place, " added Yamauchi.

Some of the major countries that fish for Pacific Bluefin include Japan, the United States and South Korea.

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