13 Dec 2008

Tuna Commission agrees to preserve Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna stocks in Pacific

10:52 am on 13 December 2008

Members of the Tuna Commission for the Western and Central Pacific have agreed to a range of measures to preserve Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna stocks in the region.

The Executive Director of the Commission, Andrew Wright, says the measures accepted should achieve a reduction of more than 10 per cent in the number of fish taken.

That will rise to nearer to the 30 percent mark in the year after when measures to close pockets of high seas near countries such as Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Nauru take effect.

Mr Wright says the agreement is a signficant breakthrough.

He says it was always going to be a high goal to achieve an immediate cut of 30 percent as governments have to liase with industry to get the measures to reduce catch in place and coastal states have to put in place domestic measures.

Mr Wright says the below the recommended thirty percent cut for next year could have a negative impact on stocks.

"That's quite possible. The scientific community has been advising the Commission for several years to reduce the mortality on Bigeye tuna. That action has been slow coming from the Commission and it's quite possible the longer we delay these sort of processes then the greater the reductions that will be required in the future."

Andrew Wright says to get a consensus by all the different parties involved in the meeting is a major success and highly significant.