OPRT Resolution to Promote Control of Excessive Fishing Capacity

Tokyo, June 2010

The Organization for the Promotion of Responsible Tuna Fisheries (OPRT), representing all stakeholders related to production, distribution and consumption of tunas working to ensure sustainable utilization of tuna resources through responsible fisheries,

1) Recalling that the World Tuna Purse Seine Organization (WTPO) and OPRT adopted the Joint Declaration in January 2007 calling that total tuna fishing capacity shall not increase above current level on a global basis, and requested the Joint Meeting of Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to take appropriate actions;

2) Concerned that the global tuna production has expanded rapidly in recent years (See the attached figure) and is kept at high levels, and also concerned that, if such excessive catch persists, it would become difficult to continue tuna fishing on a stable basis, causing all parties related to tuna fisheries to face unbearable hardships;

3) Recalling that, under the circumstances, OPRT adopted the Resolution to Promote Control of Fishing Capacity for Bigeye Tuna on June 21, 2009, and called on the international community to implement urgently the concrete measures to resolve the issue of excessive tuna fishing capacity;

4) Recognizing that major tuna resources have come to more serious conditions, and rigorous fishing regulations have been successively introduced for Atlantic bluefin tuna, southern bluefin tuna, Western and Central Pacific bigeye tuna and Pacific bluefin tuna, and also recognizing that a proposal on the inclusion of Atlantic bluefin tuna in Appendix I (i.e. designation as an endangered species) was discussed at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) earlier this year;

5) Aware that, in order to ensure the effectiveness of the adopted fishing regulations and guarantee conservation and recovery of the resources, there is a need to urgently reduce and curtail fishing capacity to meet the regulations, otherwise there is a concern that rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing may occur;

6) Noting that the 2nd Joint Meeting of Tuna RFMOs, held June 29-July 3, 2009, in San Sebastian, Spain, established a related working group on the recognition that tuna fishing capacity has become too high on a global scale and this problem needs to be urgently addressed;

7) Also noting that OPRT, with which over 90% of large-scale tuna longline fishing vessels are registered, is holding fast to the policy of limiting the number of fishing vessels not to increase their fishing capacity and is implementing such a policy through cooperation of its Members and the governments to which those Members belong; and

8 ) Concerned that, if the issue of fishing capacity is not resolved urgently, the moves of the groups criticizing the lack of RFMOs’ ability to control tuna resources will gain further momentum, which could result in unduly impeding sustainable use of tuna resources;

9) Noting that, the participants at Kobe2 in San Sebastian agreed as a proposal for immediate action to “enhance the ability of developing coastal States, in particular small island developing States, territories, and States with small and vulnerable economies, to conserve and manage highly migratory fish stocks and to develop their own fisheries for such stocks; enable them to participate in high seas fisheries for such stocks, including facilitating access to such fisheries;..”

Resolved as follows:

OPRT requests the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Tuna RFMOs

1. to develop and implement, as expeditiously as possible, the global measures to control fishing capacity, inter alia, at least to freeze the number and fishing capacity of tuna fishing vessels;

2. to establish urgently the international mechanisms that would satisfy both the fisheries development aspirations for developing countries, in particular small island developing States, and the reduction of global fishing capacity, noting that the 2nd Joint Meeting of Tuna RFMOs acknowledged the need to reconcile the aspiration of developing coastal states to benefit from tuna fisheries; and

3. to introduce urgently the measures to restrain bycatch of immature tunas.

World Major Tuna Catches by Fishing Gears 1950-2007)