Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, said development of the draft conservation and management measure (CMM) on tuna harvest strategies was a key outcome of the Tenth Annual Session of Pacific Fisheries Ministers in Tokelau.
“When I visited Tokelau earlier this year I committed Australia to the development of this harvest strategy to improve the conservation and sustainability of tuna stocks in the western and central Pacific Oceans,” he said.
“The strategy is based on the learnings from Australia’s harvest strategies which have proven to be successful, with no solely Commonwealth managed fisheries identified as subject to overfishing. I believe our fisheries management experiences will be useful to share with our regional neighbours.”
Senator Colbeck said participation in the Commission holds particular significance to Australian fisheries as it deals with highly migratory fish stocks that cover great distances, often crossing oceans and the boundaries of multiple countries.
“Participation in the WCPFC allows Australia to directly engage in the development of management arrangements for the fisheries the Commission is responsible for, including our Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery which is a valuable resource and was valued at A$24.8 million in 2012-13,” he said.
Senator Colbeck said through the Commission, Australia also plays an important role in developing management arrangements to address bycatch of other species including sea birds, sea turtles, sharks and marine mammals.
The 11th annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission runs from 1-5 December 2014 in Apia, Samoa.
For more information about the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission visit www.wcpfc.int/