The EU and United States among those who refused tocut overfishing of bigeye tuna.
Efforts to curb overfishing of tuna in the Pacific were blocked by big countries that refused to cut their catch at a meeting of tuna-fishing nations in the Asia-Pacific, reported AFP.
The Western and Central Pacific Commission (WCPFC), comprising 30 member nations and territories, ended a five-day meeting in Manila last week with minor agreementsto help tuna stocks recover, said observers who attended. The commission had hoped to address concerns that many tuna species were being fished beyond sustainable levels in the Western Pacific, a region that produces more than 50percent of the world''''s tuna catch.
However Palau fishing official Nanette Malsol said many big nations refused to cut their catch, especially of bigeye tuna which the commission said should ideally have its catch reduced by 30percent.
“The big fishing nations did not make any significant commitments to cut their overfishing of bigeye tuna. It is the big fishing nations... that have historically overfished bigeyetuna,” she said in a statement.
Malsol, who also chairs the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), a coalition of small Pacific island nations, blamed the European Union, the United States, Japan and many Asian nations for taking most of the adult bigeye tuna with “longline fishing vessels.
Only China agreed voluntarily to cut its catch by such vessels by 10 percent while South Korea and Taiwanboth agreed to cut theirs by two percent, Malsol said.
Garry Leape, head of the delegation of the US-basedPew Environment Group, said he welcomed some measures taken at the Philippine meeting.
This included an agreement to extend to four months, a three-month annual ban on the use of “fish aggregating devices”FADS, floating devices that lure fish, making it easier for boats to haul them in.
The commission also agreed on a measure to avoid catching whale sharks in tuna nets. But Leape said thecountry delegations were only interested in protecting their individual interests rather than working togetherto prevent the depletion of tuna stocks.
“It seems inevitable that, given these management decisions, we will again sit down and discuss an overfished stock in an even worse state than today,” he said in a statement.
The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) has voted to allow an extension of the conservation and management measures for tropical tuna fishing in the Philippines originally adopted in March of this year, according to a statement released by the Philippine government today.
Initially, the WCPFC approved the measures, to be in effect from October 2012 to 28 February 2013. Now, the extension means 36 fishing vessels will be able to keep fishing until February of 2015.
“If in the last meeting we were able to bring home the tuna; this year, the Philippines was able to keep the tuna home,” said Asis G. Perez, fisheries director.
According to the release, Philippine tuna production went down by at least 70,000 metric tons over the past three years due to the closure of tuna fishing by the WCPFC. Officials hope the extension will bring fishing back up to 2008 levels.