5 Dec 2013

Officials optimistic about tuna conservation agreement

4:28 pm on 5 December 2013

Conservationists and tuna industry representatives are expressing optimism they will reach an agreement on cutbacks in fishing at the tenth annual Tuna Commission meeting in Cairns, Australia.

These delegates at the week-long Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting, are hoping for a consensus on cutting the use of fish aggregating devices and reducing tuna catches before the meeting ends tomorrow.

The Director of global tuna conservation for the Pew Environment Group, Amanda Nickson, says negotiations have been progressing rather than stalling on some of the more difficult proposals.

She warns there are a number of issues yet to be resolved, such as how big the quota cuts should be and who should take them.

The eight island members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, along with Japan and the Philippines, plan to reduce the catch of bigeye and yellowfin tuna over the next four years.

The executive director of the American Tunaboat Association, Brian Hallman, says some elements of this have been objected to by distant water fishing nations and a modified proposal is now being discussed.