GREENPEACE has called for an "urgent and overdue" ban on the unsustainable fishing practices in the Pacific, following the meeting of the scientific committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in Micronesia.
Greenpeace co-ordinator for the International Sustainable Seafood Program Dr Cat Dorey said tuna stocks in the Pacific were in decline, and that "there are simply too many industrial fishing vessels plundering the Pacific".
She said Pacific bluefin tuna was down to just 4 per cent of its original stock size.
In a statement, Greenpeace said the scientific committee found the number of purse seine vessels (vessels using dragnets) was at an all-time high.
Greenpeace Pacific political adviser Seni Nabou said because tuna was a migratory species, Fiji's tuna fishery was just a small part of the Pacific regional fishery.
"Despite countries agreeing five years ago to reduce fishing pressure, limit the most destructive fishing methods, stop fishing in critical ocean areas, and allow tuna stocks to recover, the opposite has happened," she said.
She said the Pacific as a region must limit fishing to sustainable levels, and added it even would be possible to keep profits in the region by removing foreign boats from the industry, especially those with track records of unsustainable practices.
"According to the most recent figures released by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 59 per cent of global tuna fisheries is sourced from the Pacific, however, we only get an estimated 6 per cent of the $7billion generated annually from this sector as a whole," Ms Nabou said.