21 Oct 2013

Fisheries group speaks out about tuna cuts in Hawaiian waters

4:43 pm on 21 October 2013

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council says the United States should not accept a cut in the bigeye tuna limit for the Hawaii longline fishery.

The Council, which is authorized by the US Congress to manage fisheries in the state and territorial waters of the US Pacific Islands, says the Hawaii longline fishery operates several thousand miles from the equatorial Pacific, where nearly 90 percent of bigeye tuna fishing occurs.

A proposal developed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, or the Tuna Commission, would cut the Hawaii longline fishery quota for bigeye by 45 percent.

If approved and implemented the measure could shut the Hawaii bigeye tuna fishery about July each year.

The Council says the Commission's previous conservation and management measures have failed to prevent increases in fleet capacity, fishing effort and total catch of tropical tuna.

It says the Commission has imposed bigeye quotas on the longline fishery and fishing day limits for the purse-seine fishery but the purse-seine take of bigeye tuna has increased under this approach.