Charting a Course Toward Sustainability for Pacific Tuna Fisheries

Greenpeace Policy Briefing for the 7th Meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission

Publication - 30 November, 2010
The world and humankind need living oceans to survive, but unfortunately decades of industrial fishing have left Pacific tuna stocks decimated and the health of our oceans in the balance. Time and tuna are running out. Greenpeace demands the tuna commission live up to its mandate and protect the region’s tuna stocks.

All Pacific tuna stocks are in decline and bigeye and yellowfin tuna are being overfished. Greenpeace has identified the use of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs; man-made objects used to attract tuna to nets), which are being used widely by the region’s purse seine fishing fleets, as the main culprit in the decimation of juveniles of these two species. This unsustainable fishing method also wastes other marine life, such as sharks and turtles.

Pirate fishing is also a problem in the Pacific, as foreign fishing vessels continue to steal tuna from the region, exploiting four pockets of international waters which flank more than a dozen of Pacific Island Countries. If these tuna species – and the people who depend on them for their livelihoods and basic survival – are to survive, the WCPFC must act in Honolulu to ensure they do not end up on the same one-way track to commercial extinction that the Atlantic bluefin tuna is on. They must:

  • Close the four high seas pockets to all fishing,
  • ban Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs; man-made objects used to attract tuna to nets) in purse seine fisheries,
  • and reduce tuna fishing efforts in the Pacific by 50% (or halving the amount of fishing).

WCPFC7 Greenpeace Briefing Paper