Commission disappointed by WCPFC meeting

Despite an objective of reducing overfishing for bigeye tuna, the European Commission is still disappointed by the lack of ambition in protecting tropical tunas Despite an objective of reducing overfishing for bigeye tuna, the European Commission is still disappointed by the lack of ambition in protecting tropical tunas. Credit: NOAA
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The European Commission has expressed its disappointment on the outcome of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s (WCPFC) 10th plenary session, held 2-6 December 2013 in Australia.

The Commission is disappointed by the lack of ambition of the new Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) for tropical tunas agreed, despite the announced objective of reducing overfishing for bigeye tuna.

As compared to the current measure, the new measure introduces new provisions such as limits on the use of FAD sets, as well as on fishing days on the High Seas. However the Commission considers that more drastic reduction of effort of purse seiners and of longliners would have been necessary to reduce bigeye tuna fishing to sustainable levels.

The EU also regrets that the measure on South Pacific albacore and Pacific bluefin tuna could not be strengthened, as the two stocks have been facing heavy and increasing fishing pressures in recent years.

However, the WCPFC did adopt a measure for the conservation of silky sharks, a species in a poor state in the Western pacific, according to scientists. But another EU proposal to oblige fishermen to keep shark fins naturally attached onboard their vessels did not gather the necessary support for adoption.

The WCPFC agreed on additional measures to strengthen the Register of fishing vessels, to oblige certain vessels to have a Unique Vessel Identifier (UVI), to improve the recording and reporting of fishing operations data, and to take into account the situation of the Small Island Developing States and Territories (SIDS). The Compliance Monitoring Scheme, still under development, was renewed for one year and made more transparent.

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