A tuna industry official says fishing nations that are refusing to provide tuna catch data to regional management organisations in the Pacific should be sanctioned.
The comment was made by the Singapore-based managing director of Tri-Marine International, Phil Roberts, in Suva after fisheries scientists said bigeye tuna is now being over-fished .
Mr Roberts says the industry can provide accurate data and if its members don't provide the data, they should be penalised.
Both Mr Roberts and Dr. Transform Aqorau, who heads the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, say the refusal to provide fishing data to regional management authorities is tantamount to illegal fishing.
Mr Roberts says illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing includes mis-reporting and under-reporting.
Vessels engaging in illegal fishing have been blacklisted throughout the western and central Pacific and have been forced to pay heavy fines to resume fishing.