Tuna-Fishing Nations Make Little Progress Towards Protecting Tuna

Written by on December 9, 2012 in Policy & Ocean Law
Bigeye tuna at an auction.

Bigeye tuna at an auction. Photo credit: shin–k via photopin cc

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:

  1. 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.
  2. They agreed on a measure to avoid catching whale sharks in tuna nets
  3. 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.
Black-footed albatross.

Black-footed albatross. Photo credit: NOAA.

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Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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