10 Dec 2008

Proposals on reducing catches of several tuna species still being debated in South Korea

11:27 am on 10 December 2008

Pacific nations and foreign fishing nations are still debating an agreement on proposals to reduce the catch of several tuna species under threat of overfishing.

Discussions are being held in South Korea on the practicalities of how a 30 per cent reduction in the catch of Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna could be achieved.

From the port city of Busan, Philippa Tolley has been following the debates:

"There is still considerable optimism that some sort of deal can be reached after several years when arguments that reductions were needed, failed to gain any traction. The scientific evidence that Bigeye especially, is on the verge of being overfished does appear to have been accepted, although the head of the delegation from Papua New Guinea believes some nations are coming up with excuses to derail any deal. He says it might be necessary to accept a level of catch reduction below 30 percent in order to get at least something agreed to. But for the majority here, the negotiations focus around how to achieve such a cut, including short term and permanent closure of some pockets of international waters."