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More Limits Proposed On Pacific Tuna Fishing

A new proposal has been presented by the PNA Secretariat to bring a stop to the overfishing of bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The draft measure urges foreign longline fishing companies to reduce bigeye catches by as much as 30 percent, and consists out of several other components.

The draft Conservation and Management Measure was presented to a critical working group of the WCPFC in Tokyo. Along with the reduction in catches, it suggests a freeze on foreign longline and purse seine fleets in the region and the reduction of fishing on FADs.

The proposal also ensures that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) do not bear an unbalanced burden of conservation.

Dr. Transform Aqorau, PNA Chief Executive Officer said: “Our proposal is a solution to the problem we face in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean – overfishing of bigeye tuna. This is largely due to the high catch of foreign longline fishing vessels and the reliance of the industry on FADs, which leads to bycatch of undersized tunas.”

Fishing of bigeye tuna in the region is being advised by the WCPFC to be cut down by 30 percent in order to bring fishing back to sustainable levels. The PNA Secretariat proposal urges for the closure of the western high seas pockets and purse seine fishing to be capped in other high seas areas.

It also outlines that by 2017 FADs will be banned in the high seas and foreign purse seine and logline fleet sizes will be frozen.

Dr. Aqorau added: “The advice from the PNA Secretariat is this – let’s cut FADs, put a freeze on the number of large boats and gradually cut the longline fishing to bring fishing of tuna back to sustainable levels.”

While there is support for extending the FAD closure, it is thought that this must come in line with a reduction in longline catch and high seas limits.