11 Jun 2015

Warnings 2015 breaking point for tuna

3:09 pm on 11 June 2015

Scientists are warning stakeholders in the Pacific tuna fishery that they could lose the resource altogether if they do not crack down on overfishing and tighten conservation management measures.

Yellow fin tuna waiting to be weighed and then off loaded in Avarua on Rarotonga.

Yellow Fin Tuna Photo: Marty Melville / AFP

The call comes after the Pacific Island and distant-water fishing nations failed to agree in last December's meeting of the Tuna Commission on conservation measures to protect endangered species such as big eye tuna.

The executive director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Feleti Teo, says all parties are well aware of the danger to the fishery, and his office is working hard to broker an agreement.

"The message that is coming out to fisheries managers is that actions need to be taken and we are pursuing all avenues in getting the Tuna Commission members ready and prepared to make a deal by the end of this year."

Mr Teo acknowledges that the Tuna Commission's preference for doing things by consensus may not be enough this time and that proposed measures may have to be put to a vote.