Pacific tuna catch hits record high

7:30 pm on 20 August 2015

A tuna management meeting in the Marshall Islands has been told that 2014 produced another record-setting year for tuna catches in the western and central Pacific.

This week's Purse Seine Bigeye Tuna Management Workshop in Majuro was told commercial fishing boats caught over 2.8 million tons of tuna in 2014, an all-time record.

Most of those fish were caught by purse seiners.

The Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority scientist, Berry Muller, says the bigeye tuna catch at 161,299 tons was a five percent increase.

She says this maintains bigeye's "over-fished" state.

The workshop aims to come up with options to curb overfishing that can be raised at the December annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, or Tuna Commission.

It follows a similar meeting in Honolulu in April that considered options to reduce pressure on bigeye stocks, including limiting the use of fish aggregation devices, instituting catch limits, and modifying fishing gear.

The Marshalls fisheries department director Glen Joseph said he is happy to see that the purse seine fishing industry has begun taking action to modify fishing gear to reduce by catch of bigeye tuna. Here, a purse seiner off loads its tuna catch in Majuro.

A purse seiner off loads its tuna catch in Majuro. Photo: RNZI / Giff Johnson

  • Future uncertain for US and Pacific fishing treaty
  • Marshall Islands pushes action to cut bigeye tuna catches
  • Job loss warning serious for American Samoa
  • Strategy to increase value of tuna to help preserve it