Greenpeace seeks stronger measures to protect tuna stocks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2017 05:37 AM

An environmental group on Friday is calling for stronger conservation and management measure on exploited fish populations ahead of the annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in Manila.

Greenpeace said the conservation and management measure for Bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean will be renegotiated this year at WCPFC from Dec. 2-7.

"Despite recent commitments in the right direction and with some members of the industry taking steps to address overfishing, illegal fishing, and slavery at sea, it is the obligation of the WCPFC to ensure that the reforms should be felt at sea by coming up with stronger conservation measures," said Vince Cinches, oceans campaigners for Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines.

This can be done, Cinches said, if WCPFC agree on "priority measures around data collection, management of fishing capacity, conserving fish stocks, monitoring, control, and surveillance of transshipment, and harvest control rules."

Recent reports done by Greenpeace have already exposed human rights violations from the fishing industry because of inadequate regulations and availability of cheap labor from Southeast Asia.

Though main tuna species are not currently over fished, the group said there are strong reasons to be cautious.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has already declared Pacific bluefin and Bigeye tuna as "vulnerable" while yellowfin and albacore tuna are considered as "near threatened."

There are 4,509 vessels registered at WCPFC, wherein 67.64 percent are longliners, 12.62 percent are purse seiners, and 2.22 percent are pole and line. Six countries that make up 85 percent of the fleet fishing are Chinese Taipei, Japan, China, Philippines, US, and Korea.

"We urge the Philippine government as the host country to take necessary leadership for stronger tropical tuna measures. This is the second time that the commission meeting is hosted by the Philippine government. We hope this time they will side with the future of the tuna stocks in the Pacific," Cinches said.