11 Jan 2012

SPC calls for reduction in bigeye tuna fishing

3:26 pm on 11 January 2012

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community is calling for a reduction in the amount of bigeye tuna fishing in the western and central Pacific.

While the SPC's latest fishery assessment report finds there's no risk of the species' biological extinction, it highlights bigeye's continued overfishing.

The manager of the Oceanic Fisheries Programme says in order for bigeye stocks to remain sustainable, fishing must decrease by 32 percent as soon as possible.

John Hampton says the problem has been coming up with technical measures that will achieve that reduction while maintaining the growth of the skipjack purse seine industry.

"The way that we've been focusing on to date has been through things like what the Marine Stewardship Council certification is trying to do and encourage more of the purse seine efforts to be concentrated on free school fishing, which catches little bigeye, as opposed to FAD [fish aggregating device] fishing."

John Hampton says the report will be presented to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission as well as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement.