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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Greenpeace: Pacific should cut in tuna fishing
As the 3rd Regular Session Scientific Committee of the Western Central Pacific Commission (WCPFC) wrapped up its meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, Greenpeace backed the need for Pacific solidarity to save the Pacific tuna stocks from commercial extinction.
The scientists are now saying there is a 50 percent chance that our most valuable tuna stock, yellow fin, is being exploited at unsustainable levels. It is past the time that strict effort reduction measures are implemented, said Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Team Leader Nilesh Goundar.
We urge all Pacific members of the Tuna Commission (a) to hold firm to the agreed cuts of 25% to big eye and 10% to yellow fin catches. And encourage individual countries to go even further and cut fishing in their waters by up to 50%, as recommended in our own scientific report. (b)
Mr. Goundar said tuna is the Pacific peoples principal resource and too many boats chasing too few fish will add up to a race to ecological disaster and economic ruin.
With record high tuna catches valued at around US$3billion, we are in great danger of ignoring the warnings that scientists have issued since 2001, in the rush to let foreign fishers catch our last fish, said Mr. Goundar. The official catch figures dont count the rampant illegal and unregulated fishing that occurs throughout the Pacific, so the wisest course is to set stronger limits to allowable fishing levels.
A 50 per cent cut to fishing will create a win-win solution for pacific economies and for the future of our valuable tuna stocks, he said.
According to the latest economic modeling, cutting back on fishing effort will actually improve the profitability of our tuna fisheries, as well as ensure our valuable tuna will always be there.
A recent study published in the Pacific Economic Bulletin shows that a 36% effort reduction in the Pacific purse seine effort and 12% and 19% reductions in the frozen and fresh long-line fisheries in the short term, would increase the profitability of the fishery by 30% in the long term.
To protect our valuable tuna, the Pacific should be guided by scientific advice, but bound by precautionary wisdom, concluded Mr. Goundar.
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