Greenpeace calls for Pacific tuna catch to be cut by half

Press release - 3 December, 2007
Greenpeace is calling on the 4th regular meeting of the West and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, taking place this week in Guam, US, to take steps to cut the Pacific tuna catch by half in order to protect the long term integrity of the Pacific's Tuna fishery.

The meeting is taking place in the wake of last month's International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meetings failure to halt fishing on the threatened bluefin tuna in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

"Both the bigeye and yellowfin tuna are now over fished and in danger of disappearance if urgent action to cut the regions catch by 50% is not taken this week here in Guam" said Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, Lagi Toribau.

The bluefin tuna as well as smaller bigeye and yellowfin tunas, all which are highly prized for sushi, are severely depleted in all oceans. If the decline in Pacific tuna stocks follow the same collapse pattern as found elsewhere in the world, it would result in a

financial and food security disaster. The Pacific provides around 65% of the world's tuna, making it a central element of the regions economy, as well as it being a staple food source in the region.

"Many of the same countries who are responsible for the continuous failure of the ICCAT and other tuna management bodies are lining up in Guam this week. This is the most remote tuna meeting on the planet, making decisions over the most abundant remaining tuna stock. Another failure to preserve stocks, as happened at ICCAT, will consign the industry to fishing itself to death," warned Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace

International Oceans campaigner, in Guam.

Pirate fishing, conservatively estimated to be worth over 9 billion USD a year, is rampant in the Pacific. This unreported catch is further placing the stocks in peril and distorting scientific estimates of the stock status. In addition, climate change may have

unpredictable effects of tuna abundance and breeding in the region.

"In order to protect the tuna stocks, as well as the wider marine ecosystems, large-scale marine reserves should be urgently established in the high seas pockets of the Pacific, in between the Pacific Island country waters" continued Tolvanen.

In order to curb pirate fishing, Greenpeace is also calling on the Commission to ban all at sea transfers of fish from one vessel to another; and for it to establish a publicly available and accurate blacklist of known pirate operators in the region.

Other contacts: For further information contact:Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner, in Guam.Lagi Toribau, Greenpeace Australia-Pacific Oceans Campaigner, In Guam.Both available on +16716866051