The 7th meeting of the WCPFC has the opportunity to show global leadership in precautionary and ecosystem-based tuna management by agreeing to implement a number of key measures that will address the deepening crisis facing the regions tuna stocks from overfishing and fleet overcapacity.
These measures will need to build on and complement the actions that have been taken multilaterally by the WCPFC or unilaterally by the Parties to the Nauru agreement (PNA), that so far have not been far-reaching enough to avert an impending fisheries crisis.
This year, the WCPFC Scientific Committee (SC) reported that measures agreed in 2008 do not go far enough to halt overfishing in the region, and the crisis facing especially bigeye and yellowfin stocks continues to deepen. Bigeye tuna spawning biomass is now at 17% of its original biomass1 – very close to the level that would make it eligible for listing under the Convention protecting species threatened by international trade, CITES, as was recently the case with Atlantic bluefin tuna – the poster child of poor fisheries management. Signs of decline in even the once robust skipjack stock are now starting to appear as a result of massive fishing capacity and deadly efficiency. These declines are placing great threats on the region’s food security and economic prosperity, and the current mismanagement is undermining the marine ecosystem and the fishing industry itself.
WCPFC7 Greenpeace Briefing Paper