Every year since 2001 scientists have been calling for reductions in the amount of big-eye and yellowfin tuna caught in the Pacific. But every year big fishing nations such as Japan, Taiwan, China and Korea have refused to pay attention to the warnings.
Last month Japan announced an approximate reduction in tuna fishing capcity of about 5 percent due to rising fuel prices and dwindling tuna stocks.
Now they have announced a suspension of ALL their longlining vessels. These target yellowfin and bigeye tuna.
Tuna Japan Suspends Tuna Fishing Operations For All Vessels
Japan, September 4, 08
In an extraordinary meeting, the Japan Tuna Fisheries Cooperative Association (Tuna Japan) decided to suspend fishing operations of all its 233 member vessels...
... the duration of the suspension would run from 2 months to 2 years depending on each vessel's fishing plan. The majority of the distant water tuna long line operators in Japan belong to this association; the two other organizations for distant water longline fisheries also decided to follow suite.
...Mr. Masahiro Ishikawa, President of Tuna Japan confirmed the decision saying "we cannot make profit at all from our fishing operations because of the prohibitively high fuel prices" adding that it is also intended for tuna resources to recover. Mr. Masahirto Ishikawa called on tuna purse seiners to take concrete steps to reduce their catches to an appropriate level.
So this is good news for Pacific tuna but ideally we'd like to see Japan seriously cut back on their purse seiners too. The ever increasing purse seine catches - with fish aggregation devices - continue to wipe out the yellowfin and bigeye tuna because these fish get caught inside the huge nets that are set to catch the more common skipjack tuna.
Scientists are now calling for a 30 percent reduction for big-eye and 10% for yellowfin but this does not account for the amount taken illegally or the number of unreported catches. So, we're calling for a total effort reduction of 50 percent.