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Members of the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fisheries Commission are meeting this week to discuss the sustainable management and conservation of the world’s largest tuna fishery.
The Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery last year provided more than 55% of global tuna catch.
Representatives of Pacific-based civil society organisations (CSOs) attending the 16th Regular Session of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC16), are calling on the Commission to implement strengthened conservation and management measures in key priority areas.
CSOs are engaged at this meeting because of concerns that policy makers fail to consider the views and needs of local communities and the CSOs that represent them.
“This year’s meeting provides an opportunity for the Commission to progress work to establish sustainable limits for yellowfin and bigeye tunas, increase observer coverage onboard longliners, better regulate at-sea transshipments on the high seas; improve management of fish aggregating devices (FADs); and improve transparency of Commission meetings among other priorities” said Kepa Kumilgo of WWF PNG.
The CSOs submitted a joint statement that urged WCPFC16 to continue progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 14, which aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources” and its specific targets.
“Regional Fisheries Management Organisations such as the WCPFC are mechanisms for delivering global priorities and commitments. We support the work of the Commission as it strives to achieve SDG 14 priorities in particular effectively regulating harvesting and overfishing and IUU fishing and implementing science based management plans in order to replenish fish stocks in the shortest time feasible. This is particularly important for Pacific Island countries whose livelihoods are dependent on the oceans,” highlighted WWF Pacific’s Sustainable Fisheries and Seafood Programme Manager, Duncan Williams.
The CSO Joint Statement also highlighted the need for binding measures to address safety and basic human rights of fishing crew, marine pollution, transparency, and accountability of the Commission.
The WCPFC16 is being held at the Sir John Guise stadium from December 5th – 11th in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
SOURCE: WWF PACIFIC
Pacific Islands News Association
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