Conservation helps rescue Eastern Pacific tuna

Long-term conservation and management measures could be key to ensuring the survival of multiple Eastern Pacific tuna populations, which are currently threatened by unsustainable fishing rates and practices.

Recent evidence suggests that the Eastern Pacific yellowfin tuna population is being overfished and the region’s bigeye tuna population is on the verge of over-exploitation.

These are the findings of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It explained in a statement that although the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) held meetings last year to reach agreement on conservation and management for bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna populations, the resulting measures only cover fishing until the end of this year.

As unsustainable fishing rates and practices continue to threaten tuna populations in the Eastern Pacific, the WWF has highlighted the importance of long-term conservation and management measures for the international fishery, which is valued at USD 1 billion.

“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,” commented WWF LAC Fisheries director, Pablo Guerrero, in the statement.

“The science is telling us that something is not working with the stock management measures currently in place, and fishing nations must work together to agree on a better approach.”

Guerrero suggested that members should consider allocating catch quotas with specific control and monitoring provisions to take fishing pressure off tuna populations.

A reduction in fishing capacity is also needed and the commission should not approve any requests for additional capacity, according to the statement.

Photo credit: Vlad Karpinskiy/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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