WWF calls for firm limits on tuna fisheries
The limits will help to stop overfishing of tuna in the Western and Central Pacific region. Photo: Marco Care/Marine Photobank
The WWF is urging the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to implement practical rules for limiting the catch of species in the Western Central Pacific Ocean in a bid to stop overfishing in the region.
The WWF is calling on the WCPFC to support well planned and designed tuna fishery improvement. It wants conservation initiatives to sustain livelihoods through the adoption of specific reference points and harvest control rules which provide benchmarks around which management measures are standardised.
Under a pre agreed standard, managers could ensure that harvests do not exceed acceptable limits; ensuring tuna fisheries in the region are sustainably managed. If harvests approach a reference point, the WCPFC must take action to prevent adverse consequences such as overfishing.
Alfred Cook, Western Central Pacific tuna programme officer, WWF´s Smart Fishing Initiative, told World Fishing & Aquaculture: "If we put these Reference Limits and Harvest Control Rules in place, we will actually have the infrastructure for ensuring the continued health of stocks. "Without these measures, prudent management will continue to be held hostage by the political interests of the various member states of the WCPFC, which, as a consensus-based decision making body, will continue to fail to take the measures necessary to prevent the further decline of the stocks."
"We are reaching out to every constituency, especially the markets that buy and sell tuna, and encouraging them to prod the harvesting and processing sectors to support the measures the grounds that the markets insist on a consistent, reliable, and sustainable seafood supply chain to ensure their own businesses work appropriately," he added.
The reference points and harvest control rules are part of the conditions to be eligible to enter the certification process of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), so could also benefit the private sector.
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