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Press Releases :: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission: EU welcomes harvest strategy work plan for tuna species but regrets lack of progress on the sustainable management of bigeye tuna

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission: EU welcomes harvest strategy work plan for tuna species but regrets lack of progress on the sustainable management of bigeye tuna

(10/12/2015) The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) held its 12th plenary session from 3 to 8 December 2015 in Bali, Indonesia. Discussions focused on management measures for various tuna species as well as sharks. The EU, represented by the European Commission, used the meeting to promote better fisheries control and more sustainably managed fish stocks in the western and central Pacific Ocean region.

The EU regrets that the current management measure on tropical tuna was not amended to better manage fisheries and address overfishing of bigeye tuna. Conflicting positions between Coastal States’ purse seine fisheries and the long line fisheries of distant water fishing nations meant that there was no progress on this issue. WCPFC members did however adopt a harvest strategy work plan for all tuna species but bluefin tuna, which is treated separately, as well as target reference points for skipjack tuna. The EU welcomes this encouraging progress made.

In the fight against the practice of shark finning, the EU proposed rules obliging fishermen to keep shark fins naturally attached on board their vessels. This proposal was not adopted, despite strong support from a majority of members. As a result of EU efforts, WCPFC members did however adopt guidelines which will allow management plans for sharks targeted by longline fisheries to be developed following a clearer, harmonised and science based approach.

The EU is concerned by the very little progress made to address the depletion of the bluefin tuna stock in the Northern Pacific. The European Commission calls for urgent action in this respect.

Finally, in the area of fisheries control, it is regrettable that the proposal on port inspections in the Western and Central Pacific region was not adopted and that no progress was made to strengthen the control on transhipments at sea for longliners, despite strong support from the EU and others.

Background:

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) was established by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPF Convention), which entered into force on 19 June 2004. The WCPFC Convention seeks to address problems in the management of high seas fisheries while reflecting the special political, socio-economic, geographical and environmental characteristics of the western and central Pacific Ocean region.

WCPFC members include Australia, China, Canada, Cook Islands, European Union, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Republic of 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. WCPFC participating territories include American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna.

More information:

WCPFC website