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Tuna crisis meeting: Fleets to reduce fishing in 2020
5:57 pm GMT+12, 14/11/2019, Philippines

Some of the world's biggest tuna fishing fleets agreed on a mitigation measure to reduce fishing efforts in 2020, but didn't agree on a measure to bring it down right away.
 
The meeting of the World Tuna Purse seine Organisation (WTPO) took place on 13 November in Manila, the Philippines, chaired by Francisco Tiu Laurel.
 
The meeting took place as current record low skipjack prices are seen as unsustainable for most tuna fleets.  
 
Some tuna leaders hoped that the organization would reach an agreement to close the whole fishery in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) for one month or one month and a half to bring back prices to over US$1,000 per-metric-ton.  
 
During the meeting, WTPO members agreed on the following:
 
*Considering the current poor fishing situation in the WCPO at the moment, and considering a number of vessels going on extended dry-dock and maintenance, current efforts of individual companies are deemed to be adequate at this time
 
*As a risk mitigation measure for the 2020 fishing year, a consensus was agreed upon by the WTPO western central Pacific group to reduce the acquisition of vessel fishing days (VDS) by at least 25% in support of the sustainability of resources
 
* WTPO recognises 50% of eastern Pacific fleet will be at their home ports until 19 January 2020 and the use of fishing aggregating devices (FAD) in the Atlantic Ocean will stop from  01 January, 2020
 
*WTPO members agreed to work on a study on how to establish and implement a total allowable catch system to be presented to Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and small island developing states (SlDs)
 
*WTPO members also agreed to commission a scientific and economic study on the advantages to split the FAD closure in the WCPFC ocean region into two separate time periods for future stability and sustainability
 
*WTPO members agreed to assist SIDs vessel operators to establish their own national fishing associations for better cooperation amongst distant water fishing nation (DWFN) associations
 
*WTPO commits to continue our fair labor initiatives with NGOS, tuna processors and major retailers
 
The ability of individual companies to buy fewer VDS days will likely stabilize prices next year, a well-placed source told Undercurrent News.  
 
"And in case we have fewer days it is easier for the individual company to stop fishing when prices drop and there is no big cost that we need to recover," he said.
 
The VDS is a scheme where vessel owners can purchase and trade days fishing at sea in places subject to the Parties to the Nauru Agreement.  
 
The scheme, originally established to manage the western and central Pacific tropical purse seine fishery, now includes the longline vessel days scheme. The VDS sets a total number of purse seine and longline fishing days then allocates these days among the parties who can sell their allocated fishing days at the minimum benchmark price that is determined by the parties, according to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.

SOURCE: UNDERCURRENT NEWS/PACNEWS


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