14 Dec 2009

Proposals over sharks and swordfish adopted at annual meeting of Tuna Commission in Tahiti

6:20 am on 14 December 2009

Proposals from Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency members on sharks and swordfish were adopted at the annual meeting of the regional Tuna Commission meeting in Tahiti.

FFA members finalised a process first begun in 2006 to put in place limits to the catch on swordfish.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission adopted key amendments proposed by FFA members to the measure for managing Swordfish including cementing the catch limits.

The amendment sets catch limits at 2000-2005 levels.

The measures also included making more effective the so-called 'penalty clause' which stipulates that a country that catches over its limit one year, must make up for it a following year by taking a cut in their allowable catch.

Swordfish, like tuna, is a highly migratory fish stock, important to domestic fishing industries in Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand.

The Conservation and Management Measure on Sharks was amended to include silky shark as a key shark species list and there was agreement to review the shark measure at the Commission's 2010 annual meeting.