9 Dec 2013

US conservation group worried overfishing will continue for another year

5:37 pm on 9 December 2013

A United States based conservation group says it is worried overfishing of bigeye tuna will continue for another year following a failure to reach consensus on reducing catches.

The Pew Charitable Trust had been backing a call to limit tuna catches at the annual Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting in Australia.

The director of the Global Tuna Conservation programme for Pew, Amanda Nickson, says there's been ten years of scientific advice that bigeye tuna has been overfished but some countries were unwilling to compromise during last week's discussions.

"They had a clear mandate to actually determine how to end overfishing of bigeye tuna by 2018 and they failed to do that. They've agreed on no additional measures for purse seine fisheries really in 2014 and they put off all the other major decisions about fishing beyond 2014 to future meetings, which just means we're going to have this debate again and that is really not acceptable for those countries to come together and not find a solution."

Amanda Nickson says the outcome of the event was a mixed bag as delegates were able to reach an agreement to ban the fishing of silky sharks and to adopt a unique vessel identification system to address illegal fishing.