Suva, 18 November, 2013 – Comprehensive measures need to be put in place to reduce fishing capacity to save the region’s tuna fisheries, Greenpeace Australia Pacific urged in a new report launched today.
In 2012 there was a record tuna catch and record number of vessels in the purse seine fishery. There are already almost 300 purse seine vessels and around 3000 longline vessels fishing in the Pacific; while another 45 purse seine vessels are under construction in Asian shipyards – destined for the Pacific.
Over 2 million tonnes of tuna was taken from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) last year.
The Greenpeace report – titled Fewer boats, more fish: Towards comprehensive fishing capacity management in the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fisheries – calls for the urgent introduction of capacity and effort management in tuna fisheries in the WCPO to protect tuna stocks, improve environmental performance generally and to contribute more to island states and local communities.
“There are now too many boats chasing too few fish in the Pacific. Fishing overcapacity is contributing to overfishing and illegal fishing in the region,” said Duncan Williams, Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
“We need to shift to ocean friendly fishing where we have fewer boats and more fish.”
The report also calls on the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to urgently agree to cap the number of longline and purse seine vessels in the fishery when it meets for its 10th Regular Session from the 2nd – 6th of December in Cairns, Australia.
Greenpeace also urges the Commission to develop a plan and timeline to assess and eliminate the overcapacity in the WCPO that takes into consideration the social and ecological criteria set out by Greenpeace for reducing overcapacity in tuna fisheries.
“The Pacific must identify the best forms of fishing to support our environment, economies and livelihoods. Preference must be given to local, sustainable ‘ocean friendly’ fishing. The days of distant water industrial plunder are numbered, and those vessels doing the most damage and with poor records of reporting and compliance should be the first to go,” added Williams