13 Aug 2014

Anger over lack of Asian tuna catch data

3:24 pm on 13 August 2014

Western Pacific fisheries managers are angry that four Asian nations are refusing to provide data that would help determine the current level of tuna stock.

Major stock assessments of all tuna varieties are being presented to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission's Scientific Committee meeting in the Marshall Islands this week.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China have not provided operational catch data to scientists, which is crucial to producing an accurate stock assessment.

He says this is a big gap in information, and fisheries officials in the region say it's unacceptable.

"If you don't have all the information about where fish are caught and how they're being caught, and what species and so on, it's pretty hard to have a total picture of what's going on in the fishery, and that's why Pacific island officials are quite upset about this lack of information from the Asian fishing countries."

Giff Johnson says scientists believe bigeye tuna has been reduced to 16 percent of what the original population numbers were.

A Yellow Fin Tuna

A Yellow Fin Tuna Photo: RNZI