Warning on Pacific bigeye tuna stocks Published: 26 August, 2013
Conservation group Greenpeace International warned the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission on Monday that time was running out to rescue Pacific bigeye tuna stocks and urged fishing nations to jointly reduce catches before it’s too late.
At a press conference ahead of a commission meeting in Tokyo, Greenpeace urged tuna fishing nations to halt the overfishing of the region’s valuable bigeye tuna and to ensure other tropical tuna stocks are managed sustainably (1).
The commission’s scientific committee met just two weeks ago and warned again that bigeye tuna, mainly used for sashimi, is being overfished and urgent action needs to be taken. Yet every attempt to implement sustainable management has fallen short of scientific advice, said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner.
Fishing powers such as Korea, Taiwan, China, the EU, US and Japan and their fishing companies have mainly profited from this multibillion-dollar fishery, says Greenpeace. According to the conservation group, they are now resisting deep cuts in both purse seine fishing and on FADs that attract juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna, as well as in longline fishing that catches mainly adult tunas for the lucrative sashimi market.
It is now time to cut the amount of fishing in the region, ban harmful fishing techniques such as FADs and to reduce vessel numbers to sustainable and economic levels. They have to share the burden of conservation now that tuna stocks and the entire ecosystem they depend on is in danger,” Tolvanen added.
Without strong action to halt overfishing and to deal with the overcapacity in the bigeye fishery, the coastal communities of the region and fishing companies stand to suffer losses as the stocks decline and fleets are forced to move elsewhere, said greenpeace, adding that a precautionary approach was needed now before it was too late.
(1) Peter Williams and Peter Terawasi. Overview of Tuna Fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, Including Economic Conditions2012. Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, 2013. http://www.wcpfc.int/node/7199.