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Fiji Time: 10:48 PM on Sunday 20 April

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Healthy stocks

Dawn Gibson
Thursday, February 13, 2014

DESPITE cries of doom from Fiji's tuna industry as of late, albacore tuna stocks are not necessarily dwindling, says tuna specialist Robert Gillett.

Mr Gillett, who is also the director of a marine resource assessment company Gillett, Preston and Associates Inc., told The Fiji Times the tuna issue posed more of an economical threat to people than it did a biological one to tuna stocks.

"In Fiji, the most common kind of tuna being caught by the industrial fishing gear is albacore, we're in the tropics but we're catching a non-tropical tuna and we're catching it very deep," he said.

"Yeah it's a problem — it's an economic problem, it's not really a biological problem.

"It's only normal that if you're fishing a stock fairly hard, the abundance of that stock tends to decrease, that's not saying that the stock is disappearing."

Mr Gillett said while local fishing companies were disappointed with the dwindling catches, researchers and scientists from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) were suggesting stocks were not being affected as they sound.

"It's a situation where both are right, there is a decrease in abundance of albacore as the companies are suggesting, but what SPC are actually saying is that the condition of the stock is still really good."