Last Friday, the Western and Central Pacific Commission, composed of 30 tuna-fishing nations in the Asia-Pacific, ended a five day meeting in the Philippines after efforts to curb overfishing in the Pacific were blocked by the bigger nations.
More than 50 percent of the world’s tuna catch comes from the Western Pacific, which is why the commission hoped to focus on the issue of overfishing. But, according to Palau fishing official Nancy Malsol, many big nations refused to reduce their catch, especially of bigeye.
“The big fishing nations did not make any significant commitments to cut their overfishing of bigeye tuna.” Malsol said in a statement. The commission said that bigeye catch limits should ideally be reduced by 30 percent. “It is the big fishing nations…that have historically overfished bigeye tuna,” she continued.
China agreed to cut its catch by 10 percent and South Korea and Taiwan agreed to cut theirs by two percent.
However, there were some positive decisions made:
- They agreed to extend a three month annual ban on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) to four months. FADs result in the catch of juveniles and other unwanted and threatened species like sharks.
- They agreed on a measure to avoid catching whale sharks in tuna nets
- They recently announced new protection measures for albatrosses that often get caught and killed on longline fishing hooks. Vessels will now be required to use seabird bycatch mitigation measures in areas where albatrosses are found.
To learn more:
- Check out this post from the Pew Environment Group: Dispatch from the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Meeting
- And this one from Surfbirds.com: Landmark move to protect albatrosses in the Western and Central Pacific just announced
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.