9 Dec 2004

Tuna Commission meeting names head and outlines future directions

11:28 am on 9 December 2004

Twenty-six nations attending the preparatory meetings of the new Tuna Commission have selected the head of the interim secretariat for the preparatory conference, Michael Lodge, to head the new body.

The commission will be based in Pohnpei, capital of the Federated States of Micronesia.

It will be putting into place a new structure for registering and monitoring fishing boats that want to fish on the high seas, an area that has never before been regulated.

Most nations agree that urgent steps need to be taken to reduce catch levels of big eye tuna, and to halt any expansion of yellowfin tuna catches both fish prized on the sashimi markets in Asia, Europe and the United States.

But the meetings this week have not addressed the details of how fishing will be limited.

Options under consideration include limiting the number of vessels, putting quotas on tuna tonnage, and reducing fishing days.

There are 17 initial members of the new commission 14 from the Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, and China, Korea and Taiwan.