Pacific tuna fishing rates ‘unsustainable’: wildlife body

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Yellowfin tuna catches have increased in recent years, IATTC claims
Yellowfin tuna catches have increased in recent years, IATTC claims
Governments have been urged to agree on long-term conservation and management measures to protect threatened eastern Pacific tuna.

Unsustainable fishing rates and practices were continuing to impact multiple Eastern Pacific tuna populations, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) claimed.

Last year, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) held three successive meetings to reach agreement on conservation and management for bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna populations. However, the resulting measures only covered fishing to the end of this year.

Long-term management plan

Pacific bluefin tuna, which is highly depleted, was also in need of a long-term management plan, WWF said.

“IATTC members have spent a great deal of effort on short-term plans at a time when tuna populations require a more rigorous, more precautionary and a long-term management framework,”​ said Pablo Guerrero, WWF Latin America and Caribbean fisheries director.

Scientists recently provided IATTC with evidence that the eastern Pacific yellowfin tuna population is being overfished while the region’s bigeye tuna population is on the verge of over-exploitation, WWF said.

Bigeye and yellowfin tunas

In addition, the catch of juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tunas had increased in recent years due to the uncontrolled use of fish aggregating devices, it added.

In a separate development, the WWF has expressed its concern at the likely Marine Stewardship Council certification of the north-eastern tropical Pacific tuna dolphin-set purse seine fishery.

WWF objected on the basis that seine fishing – which employs a net that hangs vertically in the water – would impact already depleted dolphin populations.

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