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Taiwan Biggest Taker Of Overfished Pacific Bigeye


Taiwan has been identified as the nation responsible for fishing the largest volume of the overfished bigeye stock in the Pacific Ocean, with its catch of the species weighing in at nearly 25,000 tons in 2011.

Named the Pacific 6: Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, China and the United States are together responsible for fishing 80 percent of bigeye tuna in the region, totaling 111,482 tons in 2011, according to the WCPFC Fisheries Yearbook. 

The 43 member countries of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) – the body responsible for the world’s largest tuna fishery - are negotiating for an action plan on bigeye. The WCPFC annual meeting in Cairns this week will hold host to discussions on the future measures taken to end overfishing of bigeye tuna.

Pew has compiled data on the overfishing countries to highlight what it describes as “destructive methods of longlines and purse seine nets” that are used to catch record numbers of tuna. Pew outlined to members of the WCPFC that in 2012, the tuna fishery in the Western and Central Pacific peaked, both in catch and value.

Amanda Nickson, Director of Pew’s Global Tuna Conservation Program, said: “The WCPFC has a unique and important responsibility as custodian of the world’s largest tuna fishery in the area covering 20 percent of the Earth’s surface.

“Member countries have a responsibility to end overfishing of bigeye tuna by 2018. In addition, urgent action is needed to rebuild the severely depleted Pacific bluefin population – now at just 3.6 percent of unfished levels.”

Pew explained that it believes that if the Commission fails to act and implement management measures, fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna should be suspended until evidence-based initiatives and safeguards are put in place.

Nickson added: “Not only must the threat of illegal and overfishing of tuna be met head-on, but action is also urgently needed to limit the damage caused by fishing gears such as longlines, wire leaders, and fish aggregating devices (FADs).”