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Will IATTC Ban Stop 2013 Becoming An EPO Record Catch Year? Eastern Pacific Ocean, September 10, 13

This year could be set to become a new record year for tuna catch in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). Figures for the first half of 2013 show a potential to reach and overtake 2008’s record whole year total of 556,961 tons of tuna. But the second tuna fishing bans applied in November and December in these waters are likely to slow down the second half year escalation.

First half year tonnage for 2013 has already reached 331,740 tons, a whole 56 percent of record year 2008’s annual total. If this trend continues, final figures for 2013 are forecast to reach new highs in tuna catches.

Just over 50 percent of the total catch was accounted for by skipjack tuna, and a considerable 60 percent of the skipjack caught in these waters came from the Ecuadorian tuna fleet.

But the annual tuna fishing ban implemented by the IATTC now has the potential to make second half year figures fall from the first six months of 2013. While 51 vessels in the Ecuadorian tuna fleet are in the midst of their 60 day ban, another 45 are expected to stop activities during a second ban starting in November.

In 2008 these regulations had a significant negative impact on catches, with skipjack catch from July to December falling a steep 61,192 tons compared to January to June. Second half of 2008 catch volume of all species dropped a substantial 106,519 tons from the first half.

During September to October in 2008, when there was no ban implemented in the EPO, skipjack catch escalated cumulatively by approximately 26,000 tons. Comparatively, figures grew 13,000 tons and 19,000 tons when the fishing regulations were in place.

The very good catches in the EPO have hardly had any significant effect on whole round skipjack prices CFR Manta, which remained much in line with prices being quoted CFR Bangkok.