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WWF Calls For IATTC To Improve The Tuna Stock Mexico, June 10, 13

WWF urges member states of the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) who are meeting next week in Mexico, to improve the management of tuna stocks and the conservation of other vulnerable species, which may be affected by tuna fishing operations.
“The viability of the Eastern Pacific tuna fishery could be at risk if the IATTC fails to reach important decisions on management because of short term interests and economic goals. The IATTC can decide on adopting a responsible management scheme that ensures the long-term viability of this important economic activity, vital to hundreds of thousands of people who depend on this,” said Pablo Guerrero, Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna Coordinator for WWF’s Smart Fishing Initiative.
WWF calls upon the IATTC to adopt specific reference points and harvest control rules for tuna fisheries in the region, tools that have demonstrated to be successful in managing fisheries sustainably. The implementation of these measures would allow fisheries managers to act swiftly and efficiently to ensure that harvests do not exceed acceptable limits and ensure a sustainable and consistent supply of tuna to our markets.
WWF points to the necessity of applying the precautionary approach to fisheries management in particular to bigeye and yellowfin tuna and of introducing measures to reduce fishing mortality of small bluefin tuna and of silky sharks. The IATTC should also adopt conservation measures to protect whale sharks, which includes the banning of all intentional purse seine sets on this species. Regarding the on-board handling of accidentally caught sharks, WWF urges the IATTC to totally prohibit the removal of fins at sea and to require that sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached.
Other measures which could make tuna fisheries more sustainable include: mandatory IMO (International Maritime Organization) numbers for all purse seiners and longliners greater than 20m in length operating in the Convention area to monitor and control existing fishing capacity and mandatory reporting requirement of FADs (Fish Aggregated Devices) data and prohibition the use of hanging nets and other entangling materials beneath FADs.
The tuna resources of the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) support a billion dollar industry that sustains the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people and contributes to economic growth and social development in the region.
“IATTC needs to establish long-term objectives for the management of tuna fisheries in the EPO. The objectives should be based on sustainability of fish stocks, by-catch of other species and economic outcomes such as revenue and employment; this is critical to establishing desirable levels of tuna stocks while ensuring a healthy long-term shark population at the same time,” added Guerrero.