One year ago, as the 12th Regular Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) approached, we published a blog post sharing ISSF’s view of priorities and potential solutions for tuna fisheries in the WCPO region. Now that the WCFPC annual meeting is
Will this year’s WCPFC annual meeting bring progress on the sustainable management of the world’s most abundant tuna fishing grounds?
Claire van der Geest is Strategic Policy Advisor for ISSF and is based in Australia. Bubba Cook is the Western and Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Programme Manager at World Wide Fund for Nature and is based in New Zealand. With purview over an ocean
In recent years in the fisheries and sustainability communities, we’ve been working on the need to adopt harvest strategies (a.k.a. management procedures) or harvest control rules (HCRs) through the implementation of Management Strategy Evaluations (MSE) at tuna RFMOs. Most RFMOs have started processes to promote dialogue
Atlantic and Mediterranean fishing nations are getting ready to come together for the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in Portugal from November 14-21. As always, we have a list of items we would like to see member nations
Progress on Management, but Impasse on Sharks and Other Topics
Improved tuna measures, harvest strategies, and bycatch mitigation top the priority list for annual meeting
The western and central Pacific Ocean is home to the world’s largest tuna fishing grounds, with more than half of the world’s tuna catch coming from this region. Tuna resources are integral to many coastal state economies, providing tens of thousands of jobs. Coastal States and fishing nations will meet in Bali, Indonesia this December for the 12th Regular Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the governing body for tuna stocks and the associate marine ecosystems of the region. As always, there is a great deal at stake and our coalition has a list of things we would like to see member nations accomplish.
As the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) gets ready for their 24th Regular Meeting in St. Julian’s, Malta from November 10-17, ISSF is committed to helping the region continue progress on fisheries management. The strategy for doing so prioritizes, but is not limited to, urging further improvement in the collection of FAD data, expanding the use of human observers, electronic monitoring and reporting technologies, and advancing the development of Harvest Control Rules (HCRs) in order to increase sustainability in the region’s tuna fisheries.
When the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) Participating Companies agreed to follow the Foundation’s list of Conservation Measures, they knew that independent compliance auditing would be necessary to independently assess conformance and also to track performance over time. With the level of detail in this year’s audit, it has become even more obvious that the independent audit is an indispensable part of the process. Not only does it keep things in check, it has proven to be the most effective way to track detailed progress and reveal gaps that need additional work. During MRAG Americas’ recent audit of the Participating Companies to assess conformance with the 2014 conservation measures and commitments, we took things further than in year’s past. We shared our preliminary findings with all of the individual companies and a dialogue period allowed all parties to discuss the information submitted and to provide additional information to assist us in reaching accurate and well-supported conclusions. The final audit results were based, then, on a more thorough review of all relevant information, resulting in the most clarity in ISSF auditing results MRAG Americas has ever been able to report, as well as the ability for ISSF to track continuous improvement. Not only does this serve the primary audit and compliance purposes, but perhaps more importantly, it gives a clear picture of where everyone is, and helps chart a course for where they need to be.
Fishing capacity is the amount of fish or fishing effort that can be produced over a period of time (i.e. one year or a full fishing season) by a vessel or a fleet if fully utilized. Proper capacity management seems like a simple enough concept: have fewer boats on the water so that pressure on tuna stocks relents to a more ideal level. If you could only explain it in one sentence, that might just be the best way to do it; however, like all issues associated to managing fisheries, we don’t have the luxury of simplicity, which is why I’m glad I have the opportunity to say more than a sentence about how we, as conservationists and scientists, can continue to move the needle to limit fishing capacity across all tuna fisheries to more sustainable planes.