7 Dec 2007

Guam meeting discusses tuna conservation

2:33 pm on 7 December 2007

Steps on how best to protect Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna stocks in the Western and Central Pacific region have been a contentious issue at a key meeting in Guam this week.

Scientists say the two types of tuna are under threat from overfishing, particularly by long line and purse seiner fishing.

The Western and Pacific Fisheries Commission met members from 40 countries and fishing stakeholders to try to reach a consensus on how best to manage and conserve remaining stocks.

Greenpeace has called for tuna fishing quotas to be halved amid challenges to balance between conservation needs and commercial interests.

The commission's executive director, Andrew Wright, says it has been difficult to get agreement from all fishing stakeholders.

"It's delicately poised at the moment. It's going to be very hard to make a call. We still have quite a few agenda items to move through - Yellowfin and Bigeye is probably the key one. You'd hope for an outcome by the end of today , so we know what we're going to do to try to address this challenge but there are still a number of polarised positions on how we are going to achieve that."

The Western and Pacific Fisheries Commission executive director, Andrew Wright.