Fishing Suspended As Tuna Stock In Pacific Dangerously Low

Thursday, September 4, 2014
By Paul Martin

Alroy Menez

Tuna stocks in the western and central parts of the Pacific Ocean are so low that fishing operations must be suspended to help them recover, the outgoing head of the fisheries management body for that region, said Tuesday. He also reportedly warned that stocks of other fish species in the ocean are being dangerously depleted.

Glen Hurry, head of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, or WCPFC, said that numbers of tuna stock were at a dangerous level and worsening, according to an Agence France-Presse, or AFP, report. Island nations in the Pacific have long complained of too many fishing boats in the region catching far fewer fish and, in June, decided to hike the fees they charge tuna-fishing boats entering their waters by 33 percent. The WCPFC is based in the Federated States of Micronesia, a small island nation in the North Pacific.

“The Pacific bluefin is I would have thought at the biggest risk, it’s at about 3.0 percent of its original spawning biomass, so the amount of adult fish in the water that can spawn … it’s at a pretty dangerous level,” Hurry told AFP late Tuesday.

Bigeye tuna stock was below the critical level, which is about 20 percent of its original spawning biomass and fishing of this species must be stopped to allow it to recover, Hurry said, adding that stocks of yellowfin tuna is reportedly below 40 percent of its original biomass.

“Of the big ones — bigeye and skipjack tuna — bigeye is about 16 percent of its original spawning biomass, so it’s below the limit,” Hurry reportedly said.

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