In fact, the scientific committee of the WCPFC has determined that bigeye stock is subject to overfishing and that yellowfin stocks are currently being fished at capacity and adoption of limits on fishing skipjack should be considered.
To sustainably utilize tuna stock, the international community has asked for addressing excessive fishing capacity, especially of purse-seiners for a long time. However, countermeasures are making slow progress. There was once an international agreement to freeze the capacity of large-scale purse-seiners of developed countries at the joint tuna RFMOs meeting held in 2011,but no effective countermeasure have been implemented. Rather, the capacity is reported to keep increasing further along with new vessel constructions.
Amid such circumstances, in addition to the management measures for bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tuna for 2014-2017, the WCPFC adopted a remarkable measure to forthrightly tackle the issue at its 10th regular meeting closed on Dec. 6th in Cairns, Australia. Namely, “developed countries shall jointly develop a scheme to jointly reduce the capacity of large scale purse seine vessels to the level of 31 December 2012 and submit to the next regular meeting.” Moreover, they also agreed on a principle to decrease the number of their vessels when the number in developing island countries increases,” a participant of the WCPFC meeting reported.
Obviously, developed countries have a key to see whether or not such a scheme can become effective. All developed countries should tolerate pains and stop increasing the number and reduce their fishing capacities. If they succeed in this effort, the international community will be able to see some improvements on its long-standing issue.
In addition, the achievement at the WCPFC can affect other regional tuna fishery management organizations. Much is expected for the next regular meeting of the WCPFC.