2007 OPRT Business Plan

Business Plan for 2007

[Situation Surrounding tuna resources and tuna fisheries ]

(1) In January 2007, the regional tuna fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) of the world gathered for the first time in Kobe to discuss the present state of the world’s tuna resources and the issue of resource management. At the meeting, issues with which RFMOs should cope in the years ahead in order to ensure sustainable utilization of tuna resources were clarified, and measures to be implemented were summarized and adopted as the Course of Actions. Progress with regard to the measures provided for in the Course of Actions will be assessed at the second Joint Meeting to be held in 2009.

(2) The issues clarified at the meeting can be summarized in the following three points: (i) restraint of excessive fishing capacity; (ii) further efforts to eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activities; and (iii) reduction of by-catch of marine living species (sea turtles, seabirds and sharks) which are caught incidentally in tuna longline fishing.

(3) Regarding the issue of excessive fishing capacity, the participants recognized that the world’s tuna fishing capacity is in an excessive state, and should not be increased any further but should be rather reduced. With respect to purse-seine fishing, the need for an approach to technological development to reduce by-catch of small-size tunas was stated explicitly in the Course of Actions.

(4) Regarding the issue of IUU fishing, the meeting made clear the actions to reinforce the measures to prevent and eliminate IUU fishing activities. Those actions included the development of global lists, common to all the RFMOs, of legitimate fishing vessels and IUU vessels; improvement of the Statistical Documentation System to grasp the actual situation of market distribution of tunas; and identifying the real and actual operators of IUU fishing (multinational companies).

(5) Regarding the issue of by-catch, the participants recognized the need to reduce the impact of incidental catch by longline fisheries on sea turtle, seabirds and sharks. They also recognized the need for longline fishers to take realistic measures such as the use of the devise to reduce by-catch (e.g. circle hooks and Tori Pole), and development of fishing methods designed to avoid by-catch.

(6) The impact of rapidly developing tuna farming on tuna resources in recent years cannot be overlooked, although this issue was not discussed at the Kobe meeting. Participants recognized that bluefin tuna farming in the Mediterranean can threaten the resource management scheme of ICCAT, as seen in the case of Libya’s objection to ICCAT’s resources management recommendations. Further, questions have been raised on whether management of quotas is carried out appropriately for southern bluefin tuna farming. It was noted that there is a need to strengthen management of tuna farming.

(7) In line with the progress of globalization of tuna fishing and market, it has become increasingly difficult to solve the above issues solely by the efforts of producers. It is ever more important that not only the international organizations and governments but also all stakeholders in tuna fishing, including traders, distributors and consumers, should coordinate and cooperate among themselves for the solution of the tuna issue.

(8) Last year, there were many mass media reports on the issue of tuna in connection with international organizations’ decisions to reduce catch quotas for southern bluefin tuna and East Atlantic bluefin tuna as well as large-scale reduction of tuna fishing vessels by Chinese Taipei. As a result, the public awareness on tunas has been heightened. However, a number of media reports went so far as to assert excessively that “we can no longer eat tunas.” In order to secure sustainable utilization of tuna resources and maintain tuna longline fishing, further efforts are needed to arouse the interest and gain understanding of the general public regarding the tuna issue through positive publicity on accurate information and other activities.

Business Plan

Based on the observation of the above circumstances, the OPRT will undertake in fiscal 2007 the following projects with a view to ensure sustainable utilization of tuna resources and to contribute to the development of tuna fishing that fulfills the international and social responsibility.

1. Monitoring of the state of tuna resources and the trend in resources management Monitoring of trend in regional tuna fisheries management organizations such as ICCAT

2. Promotion of control of tuna fishing capacity
(1) Monitoring of longline fishing vessels exporting frozen tunas to the Japanese market
(2) Restraint of fishing capacity of large-scale purse-seine fishing vessels

3. Promotion of prevention and elimination of IUU fishing activities
(1) Monitoring of longline fishing vessels exporting frozen tunas to the Japanese market
(2) Implementation of the measures to prevent tuna laundering
-Experiment to control at-sea transshipment in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean
-Implementation of DNA inspection
(3) Survey on the state of longline fishing vessels exported from Japan
(4) Monitoring of the trend of tuna farming subject to catch regulations
(5) Reimbursement of the fund for the FOC fishing vessels scrapping project

4. Promotion of responsible fisheries for conservation of the marine ecosystem
(1) Promotion of implementation of the “2005 Yokohama Declaration”, including the reduction of incidental catch of sea turtles and seabirds
(2) Participation in the meetings relating to the issue of by-catch

5. Implementation of publicity activities for the promotion of responsible tuna fisheries
(1) Publication and distribution of newsletters, pamphlets etc. and publicity through website
(2) Holding of seminars and discussion meetings
(3) Promotion of recruitment of Supporting Members
(4) Implementation of publicity activities to consumers through promotion of consumption of natural and frozen sashimi tunas
(5) Formation of the public opinion through coordination and cooperation with friendly organizations

6. Promotion of coordination and cooperation among OPRT Members Implementation of natural and frozen sashimi tuna campaigns

7. Cooperation by OPRT Members for expansion of healthy sashimi tuna market Provision of information technical advice for publicity, etc.