Bluefin tuna specimens. (Photo Credit: Lenfest Ocean Program)
Pacific nations reach agreement regarding bluefin tuna cuts
Friday, September 06, 2013, 01:20 (GMT + 9)
A fifteen percent cut of young bluefin tuna for 2014 has been agreed by the Pacific Nations to protect bluefin tuna stocks, which are in decline due to overfishing.
The measure has been adopted for conservation reasons and to bring the bluefin tuna stock number back up. The decision was taken after a meeting of a subcommittee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) held in Fukuoka, Japan, after four days, AFP reported.
The United States, one of the nine economies participating in the meeting, suggested as much as a 25 per cent reduction in bluefin tuna catch but the majority opposed to this stating it could pose problems to local fishing industries.
The only country who did not agree on the measure was South Korea, which asked to be exempted from the fishing cut.
The other eight participant nations prompted South Korea to accept the measure, since failing to do so will mean the subcommittee will consider the matter again, reported Kyodo News International.
The agreement might be approved when the annual WCPFC conference takes place in December in Australia.
The conservationist organization Greenpeace strongly opposed the result demanding a total ban on the bluefin tuna catches until its dwindling numbers have time to recover.
The NGO says that industrial fishing on a large scale catches important amounts of young tuna before they reach breeding age, therefore destroying the population of this ever-so-popular fish in Japan, where it is used in a variety of dishes.
Japan alone lands 60 per cent of the total bluefin tuna caught in the Northern Pacific. It volunteered the implementation of the 15 per cent cut in the catch from the 2002-2004 average as the stock of adult bluefin tuna (4 years old or older) had dropped to its lowest-ever level in 2010 due to presumed overfishing of juvenile tuna.
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By Gabriela Raffaele