Greenpeace: Reform needed in tuna longline fisheries

20 Nov 2013

In a new report, Greenpeace International says that a grave lack of regulations is hindering sustainable management of the world’s longline tuna fishery fleets.

The report, Out of line, the global failure of tuna longline fisheries, outlines the main environmental and social impacts of the tuna longline fishing business, arguing that governments responsible for the management of longline fisheries are not living up to their obligation to ensure these fleets operate sustainably. This includes ensuring an adequate control of the fishing activities, keeping the capacity of these fleets in line with precautionary limits and minimising the impacts of fishing on the whole ecosystem.

“The behaviour of the longline tuna fisheries industry is scandalous, as it is constantly reported to be involved in practices such as illegal fishing facilitated by at sea transfers of fish, labour law abuses involving captive crews who can spend several years at sea and the killing of vulnerable species like sharks and turtles,” said Sari Tolvanen, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace International.

In a few weeks the future of the world’s largest tuna fishery will be decided in Cairns, Australia, as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission holds its annual meeting. Greenpeace says that longline powers mainly from Taiwan, China, Korea and the US are expected to resist further cuts and efforts to limit longline fishing in the high seas, which the organisation says would ensure critical improvements in fisheries management to achieve more sustainable and legal Pacific fisheries.

“Action cannot be delayed any longer and it is essential that this fishing business starts accepting proper management and conservation rules. Only by getting larger players to act will it be possible to bring this highly fragmented fishing sector under control,” added Ms Tolvanen.

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