WWF calls for suspension of commercial tuna fishing

05 Sep 2016
The Pacific Bluefin tuna stock is on the brink of collapse Photo: Marco Carè/Marine Photobank

The Pacific Bluefin tuna stock is on the brink of collapse Photo: Marco Carè/Marine Photobank

WWF is calling for the immediate suspension of commercial fishing of the Pacific bluefin tuna stock which it says is teetering on the edge of collapse due to what it calls the repeated inaction of responsible bodies.

It said that the call follows another failure to agree on an urgently needed recovery plan to save bluefin tuna by Members of the Northern Committee (NC) of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

Dr Aiko Yamauchi, the leader of the Oceans and Seafood Group, WWF Japan said: “This is the only way to end overfishing, and to provide hope for a future recovery of the stock. We encourage all members here to consider this suspension of fishing, and we look forward to a further discussion on Pacific bluefin tuna at December’s full WCPFC meeting."

WWF said that even with an updated stock assessment that showed that the stock is depleted to 2.6% compared to its unfished level, nothing has been done to end the high levels of overfishing, or find agreement on a plan to rebuild the population.

The Northern Committee had apparently promised that reference points and harvest control rules were going to be agreed to, that the catch documentation scheme to monitor catches was to be made ready for implementation and an emergency rule was going to be put in place to trigger real action when low recruitment was detected.

In addition to this, the joint meeting of the NC and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) was going to make measureable progress on a Pacific-wide rebuilding plan.

WWF said that it believes that many commitments were made by the NC in order to distract from the fact that little was done to advance conservation of this severely depleted stock.

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