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Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC): no progress on conservation of tropical tunas

Press release - 2/4/2012

Measures for enhanced monitoring are a step in the right direction, but, overall, the 8th plenary session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) falls short in guaranteeing sustainable exploitation of tuna stocks: the European Commission will continue to work for the adoption of stronger conservation at the next WCPFC plenary session.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) held its 8th plenary session from 26 till 31 March in Guam. The European Commission is disappointed that no new Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) for tropical tunas were agreed, despite the WCPFC Scientific Committee's requests for stronger measures. Instead, the WCPFC decided to carry over the previous measures' provisions till the next plenary session scheduled for December 2012. However, the WCPFC accepted two EU proposals. Firstly, the Western High Sees pockets will be re-opened with a special management of Philippines fishery (limitation in number of vessels), which will decrease pressure on spawning grounds in the Coastal States' Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). Secondly, the monitoring system will be strengthened, with observers on all purse seiners, including those fishing only in EEZs.

The Commission is also concerned about the PNA countries (eight Parties to the Nauru Agreement: the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu) intension to apply a different level of effort limitation in their waters (something they have already decided for their EEZs). The PNA countries intend to apply 2010 limits for a number of fishing days allowed, through their Vessels Days Scheme. As 2010 limit was the highest on record, this decision can be detrimental for the stocks.

WCPFC members are: Australia, China, Canada, Cook Islands, European Union, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Chinese Taipei, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America, Vanuatu.

More information: http://www.wcpfc.int/