4 May 2005

Study shows decline of Pacific tuna stocks exaggerated

1:56 pm on 4 May 2005

A new scientific study shows that global tuna stocks are not at danger of depletion from overfishing, as earlier findings had indicated.

The director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Dr John Hampton, who headed the latest research, said the previous conclusions, were based on flawed methods of analysis.

The earlier research said 90 percent of all tuna stock was being depleted, but Dr Hampton says while big eye tuna is at risk, other species such as skipjack tuna and albacore are not.

He says the earlier research would have led people to believe that draconian management levels were essential to replenish tuna fish stocks, but this isn't the case.

"We feel that such draconian measures that have been suggested such as banning long line fishing aren't warranted and that particular issue is close to our hearts because longline fishing in the Pacific islands is a very important activity for Pacific Island countries. Its an activity that if managed correctly can provide a sustainable economic resource for those countries."

Dr Hampton says the new research has been published in the international science journal, Nature.