On Tuesday, December 2, member states and territories of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) reached an agreement on the conservation of Pacific bluefin tuna, according to Environment News Service.
According to scientists advising the commission, the Pacific bluefin tuna population is currently at just four percent of historic levels, and consists now of a very limited breeding stock that is already approaching the end of its lifecycle.
The new conservation rules will require Pacific bluefin fleets to keep catches to 50 percent below the annual levels between 2002 and 2004, and if exceeded, will be deducted from the following year’s catch limit.
“The commission must demand member parties such as China, Japan, Korea, and Chinese Taipei begin supplying basic catch and effort data for their fishing fleets,” said Alfred Cook, the WWF Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager.
Last month, renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono spoke at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan about the enormous dangers of overfishing, warning that the high demand for domestic tuna was promoting highly unsustainable fishing practices.
Following the conclusion of the commission, several organizations reported their dissatisfaction at a general lack of direction, citing the WCPFC’s “inability to reach agreement over urgently needed rules to halt decline and give tuna stocks time to recover from overfishing,” reports Fish Information and Services (FIS).