New figures on tuna populations in the Pacific show that the region's bigeye stocks have been critically depleted.
Research by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community is to be presented to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, or Tuna Commission, which meets early next month in Majuro in the Marshall Islands.
The research co-ordinator for the SPC's Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Dr Shelton Harley, says they found that bigeye numbers are now less than 20 percent of what they were before the species was fished.
"The Tuna Commission which is responsible for managing bigeye last year set a limit for bigeye tuna and a limit is essentially a point you don't want to go near. And now bigeye is at or slightly below that limit, so what it means for the Commission is that they now need to act."
The research co-ordinator for the SPC's Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Dr Shelton Harley.