By: Bernadette Carreon
The annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Manila, Philippines ended on Friday, Dec. 8 with member nations agreeing to a three-year management measure for tropical tuna – skipjack, bigeye and yellowfin tunas.
Negotiations lasted until early of the morning on Friday for countries to make consensus on the tropical tuna measure which were the main focus of the meeting.
The new Tropical Tuna Measure, included a decision to lift the banon FAD-fishing in international waters for seven months of the year and to reduce the FAD- closure in Pacific Island waters to 3 months, this provision will only apply for 12 months.
Other measures adopted that was hailed by the Pacific nations are new Marine Pollution Measure, the Port State Measure to tackle IUU fishing, exemption granted to Samoa’s domestic longline fleet todirectly offload to American Samoa and plans to reduce by-catch of sharks, rays, turtles and birds.
Rhea Moss-Christian (WCPFC) chair said this year’s meeting was a success.
“It was a lot of hard work, a lot of good cooperation and engagement by members and in the end a good result for the commission,” Christian told journalists after the meeting.
But Pew Charitable Trust’s Amanda Nickson said the outcome was
disappointing w when governments agreed to a measure that did
not follow the scientific advice.
She said this puts the bigeye tuna population into risks.
“Despite substantive efforts by the Chair of the Commission, the
outcome is disappointing, and once again highlights a lack of effective communication and negotiation between Commission members in the lead up to this meeting,” Nickson said.
“The inability to agree on measures that is in line with scientific advice puts into question the commission’s ability to fulfil its mandate and meet the needs of the Pacific islands that depend on healthy tuna fisheries for Economic security and the distant water fishing nations that operate Pacific Ocean fleets.
Next year’s WCPFC will be hosted by FSM. [/restrict]