Call for fisheries to stay on track


THERE is an urgent need to ensure that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) stay on track with the timelines in place for tuna harvesting.
Bill Holden of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) addressed the Pacific Island Tuna Industry Association’s (PITIA) annual general meeting in Nadi, Fiji recently and noted decisions by the MSC to align the harvest control rules condition requirement across the MSC certified tuna fisheries.
Holden said there was an urgent need to ensure the WCPFC stayed on track with the timelines in place of harvest control rules under WCPFC CMM 2014 – 06.
The meeting was also advised that there would be a firm deadline for the adoption of harvest control rules for the four key tuna species at the WCPFC by end of 2021 and noted that if this condition was not met, it would result in the suspension on the regions MSC certified fisheries in 2022.
The meeting also strongly voiced the view to have this matter properly addressed at WCPFC.
PITIA chair Brett Haywood, from Fiji, said: “We consider this matter to be a key priority for WCPFC, not just for our members but for all of the region’s certified fisheries.
“The MSC premium is fundamental to the economics of our long line fisheries and we simply cannot risk losing the certification.”
The meeting had also noted the increasing need to focus on marine pollution and plastic waste disposal at sea.
“What happens to the plastic strapping and lining of the tuna long line bait boxes for vessels on the high seas?” Haywood asked.
“This matter needs to be properly addressed at WCPFC.”
PITIA has been constituted since 2005 and is supported by an executive officer based in Suva, Fiji.
It provides a voice for the domestic long line, purse seine, pole and line and processing facilities into the wider policy and fishery management systems development across the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

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