Data loading...

The Bigeye Battle Reaching Its Peak Philippines, December 4, 12

Scientists, fishery regulators and environment groups are seeking to reduce the annual bigeye tuna catch in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean by 30%, as the debate about the stock, which is currently being overfished, heats up on the third day of the annual WCPFC meeting in Manila, Philippines.
Fishing fleets in the region catch more than 150,000 tons of bigeye tuna each year and Glenn Hurry, executive director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) says it’s too much. To stop the overfishing, Hurry says a four-month ban on fish-aggregating devices (FADs) from August to November each year could be a possible solution, since juvenile bigeye are frequently caught as by-catch in FAD fisheries.
Bigeye tuna – a popular item in sushi bars – are also caught as mature fish in longline fisheries, so an alternative measure could be a three-month FAD closure and a reduction in the longline catch, says Hurry.
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and the Pew environment group are also pushing for an end to the overfishing of bigeye tuna, but ultimately an agreement will need to be reached with the fishing industry by the end of this week.
Nanette Malsol, PNA chairwoman, says the bigeye problem is “really bad” because it is already impacting the PNA’s smaller, domestic tuna fisheries.
The WCPFC meeting brings together delegates from 25 member countries, including Pacific island nations, Asian countries, US and the EU, to decide tuna fishing rules and conservation measures for the region.