Tumon, Guam: Deadlocked talks and a deferral of key conservation and management measures. Most noteworthy for high-value tuna stocks. All mark a disappointing outcome for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

Particularly disappointing is the failure to find solutions to resolving the downward spiral of overfished bigeye tuna. Cause more and more bigeye tuna are being caught with no adequate action. Therefore, precautionary conservation measures to protect yellowfin stocks are non-existent.

Positive actions by the WCPFC protecting oceanic whitetip sharks. As well as cetaceans overshadowed by inaction. Inaction on whale sharks being entangled by purse seine nets.

WWF expressed dismay at the rapid growth in longline fleets.

These fleets locating in the Western and Central Pacific. All as a targeting southern albacore tuna. Catches of albacore are rising from 53000 metric tonnes to 71000 metric tonnes. Rising over the last ten years. Thereby placing other vulnerable marine species like seabirds at risk.

WWF pleased that a joint WWF, Greenpeace and Pew submission. One for the commission taking urgent action on for conserving albacore. Yup, it’s drawing the support of Japan and Pacific island countries and territories.

WWF strongly urging WCPFC Member States to take actions supporting implementing the precautionary approach.

Source: WWF

Most importantly, over half of the world’s tuna catch is for the taking. All in Western Central Pacific ocean. Worst part is it’s a catch valued at over $US 4.6 billion/year. Most of the this catch (some 1.8 million metric tonnes) is Skipjack tuna. Most noteworthy, tuna that is mostly canned.

Firstly, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention (WCPFC) is an international fisheries agreement. An agreement seeking to ensure, through effective management. So we need to be managing the long-term conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks (i.e. tunas, billfish, marlin). All in the western and central Pacific Ocean.

In conclusion, the basic tenet of precautionary approach to fisheries management is simple. First off, do not take actions having an unacceptably high risk. Especially of compromising the health of the resource. So most importantly and therefore implementing a precautionary approach. I mean for that’s usually the best idea. Finally, one agreement working through pre-agreed management actions. They are also called ‘harvest control rules’.

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