5 Sep 2017

FFA urges caution over new tuna data

6:51 am on 5 September 2017

The Forum Fisheries Agency is urging caution over new data showing Pacific tuna are not being overfished.

The figures suggest the entire tuna stock is at a healthy level, including Bigeye which has long been been reported as severely overfished.

The agency's Wez Norris said the data is potentially great news for the sustainability of the fishery but countries need to be cautious about acting on it.

Mr Norris said the extremely positive report was the result of a fundamental change to the way tuna stocks in the region are being assessed and he says it was not yet clear what measures they'll need to take.

"Because the region and the fishing states have invested very heavily in management measures over the last couple of years to reduce the catch of Big Eye because we thought it was in such a drastic state," he said.

"And so we need to be very cautious now that we are getting this more positive science advice that we don't simply throw those management measures out."

The director general of the  Pacific Islands Fisheries Forum Agency, James Movick, Tuvalu Minister Elisala Pita  and the Agency's deputy director general Wez Norris.

Wez Norris (R). Photo: Supplied/ Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency