News :: WCPFC: moderate progress on conservation of tropical tunas

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC): moderate progress on conservation of tropical tunas

(07/12/2012) The European Commission welcomes the agreement by the 9th plenary session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to stronger Conservation measures for tropical tuna, but regrets its temporary nature.

The Commission is strongly committed to work on the basis of a clear action plan for the development of a strong multi-annual management measure. The Commission is disappointed about the lack of support to its proposals aimed at strengthening monitoring and transparency.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) held its 9th plenary session from 2 to 6 December in Manila. The Commission is pleased with the adoption of a stronger Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) for tropical tunas, even though it regrets that the measure is only limited to one year. The Commission particularly welcomes the increase in the period for Fishing Aggregating Devices (FADs) closure which is expected, according to scientific advice, to have positive impact on the conservation of the stocks. Moreover, the Commission welcomes the commitment of all WCPFC members to work on the basis of a clear action plan towards the development of a multi-annual management measure for tropical tuna. In parallel, the Commission worked alongside the US to table a joint proposal for an ambitious approach on the collection of data on FADs, which aimed to put in place a strong flanking measure to ensure better respect of the obligations deriving from the CMM. Regrettably, other WPCFC members did not favour the approach proposed; the Commission considers that the establishment of clear FADs management should be a priority for WPFC and will continue to work in this direction.

The Commission also regrets the lack of support for its proposals on the minimum standards on port state measures and on the access agreements information. These proposals would have reinforced WCPFC capacity to monitor compliance with conservation measures, provided a useful tool in the fight against IUU and increased transparency. On this last issue, the Commission considers that increasing transparency could positively affect other aspects of the WCPFC management approach. The Commission will continue to work in order to achieve those objectives and have these measures adopted at next annual meeting of the WCPFC.

The Commission welcomes the agreement on the EU proposal on Best Available Science, and the new WCPFC measures for the protection of whale sharks and sea-birds.

Background: The members of the WCPFC 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 and Vanuatu.

Spain and Portugal are the only EU member states who fish in the area.