WWF pushes for tuna licence suspension

WORLD Wildlife Fund (WWF) has called for the suspension of commercial fishing licences to save Pacific bluefin tuna because of the inaction of responsible agencies in addressing the decrease in stock.

WWF Oceans and Seafood group leader Dr Aiko Yamauchi said members of the Northern Committee (NC) of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) had failed to agree to an urgently-needed recovery plan to save Pacific bluefin tuna.

WCPFC was established by the convention for the conservation and management of highly migratory fish stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

“Because of the lack of progress and the repeated inaction of the responsible bodies, the Pacific bluefin stock will continue to teeter on the edge of collapse,” Dr Yamauchi said.

“We call for a full suspension of commercial fishing of this species until a Pacific-wide rebuilding and management plan has been agreed.

“This is the only way to end overfishing and to provide hope for a future recovery of the stock.”

Dr Yamauchi said the organisation encouraged all members of the WCPFC to endorse the fishing licence suspension until further discussions scheduled for December.

“Even with an updated stock assessment that showed that the stock is depleted, nothing has been done to end the high levels of overfishing or find agreement on a plan to rebuild the population,” the WWF group leader said.

“WWF urges member states to act and stop overfishing of the Pacific bluefin tuna stock and agree to the necessary conservation measures this year.”

Australia, Fiji, France, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga are member states of the WCPFC.

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