Commitment from Global Fishing Powers Needed To Reverse Tuna Decline - Greenpeace
Manila, Philippines, 29 November 2012 – Greenpeace activists today sought conservation commitments from fishing powers in the upcoming global summit on Pacific tuna fisheries, to be hosted by the Philippines next week. Tuna mascots with banners saying "Help end tuna overfishing" demonstrated at the embassies of Korea, Japan, USA, as well in the representative offices of the European Union and Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines.
The high-level conference of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), taking place on Dec. 2 to 6, will be attended by more than 30 countries from the Oceania region, Asia, Americas and Europe. Countries will need to agree to conservation and management measures in order to address the fast-declining supply of Pacific tuna.
"Pacific tuna fishing powers must act now to recover Pacific tuna stocks from the brink of collapse,” said Lagi Toribau, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace International. “They need to agree to a full closure of the Pacific commons-sensitive areas, as well as ban the use of destructive fish aggregating devices (FADs) associated with purse seine fisheries, so that the Pacific can continue feeding future generations with tuna."
More than 60% of the world's tuna comes from the Western and Central Pacific. Scientists, however, have warned that stocks in this area are under threat from massive overfishing. Yellowfin and bigeye tuna, for example, are already under immense pressure due to overfishing and the use of wasteful fishing techniques that lay waste to juvenile tuna and other marine life such as sharks and turtles(1).
The Philippines, host of this week’s meeting, is a regular cooperating member of the WCPFC. The country’s tuna industry is heavily dependent on the supply of tuna caught in the Pacific.
Fishing powers like Korea, Japan, Taiwan, USA, and the EU have opposed strong management and conservation measures in the region at the previous WCPFC meeting last March, leaving fisheries management in a free fall.
“Fishing industries from Korea, Japan, US, the EU, Taiwan, as well as the Philippines, are in danger of fishing themselves out of business,” said Mark Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “This tuna stock decline can be reversed by a significant reduction in fishing capacity, abandoning destructive techniques and by creating marine reserves in parts of the Pacific so that stocks can recover.”
For years, Greenpeace has been working with Pacific governments to address overfishing and prevent foreign fishing powers from plundering their fishing grounds. The environmental group is calling for marine reserves to be established in four high seas pockets known as the Pacific Commons(2), and for these to be declared off-limits to fishing. At the upcoming meeting, it is also seeking a ban on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in purse seine fisheries and a 50% reduction in the catch of bigeye tuna(3).
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry - two necessary steps to restoring our oceans health. The group is also working with retailers and tuna brands across Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific to increase the market share of sustainably sourced tuna.