Weekly Overview: Fishing Ban Could Be Only Option Left for Saving Pacific Bluefin Tuna

26 July 2016, at 1:00am

GLOBAL - The Pew Charitable Trusts is calling for a two year ban on the commercial fishing of Pacific bluefin tuna as a last resort to save the species.

In this year’s stock assessment, scientists found that the population is at just 2.6 per cent of its historic size and that overall fishing mortality remains up to three times higher than is sustainable.

Projections from the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean show that under current conditions, the catch limits now in place have a less than 1 per cent chance of successfully rebuilding the population over the next 20 years.

Amanda Nickson, director of global tuna conservation for Pew, said: "An initial two-year commercial fishing ban would protect the species by ending overfishing."

"A commercial ban would also give international fishery managers an opportunity to implement an appropriate rebuilding plan. If adequate measures are not in place by 2018, a trade ban through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) could be the only remaining option to safeguard the species."

In other news, NOAA Fisheries is making approximately $10 million in funding available for projects focusing on sustainable fisheries and coastal fishing communities in the US.

To be considered for 2017 funding, projects should advance research in one of the following focus areas:

  • Marine aquaculture
  • Fishery data collection
  • Techniques for reducing bycatch and other adverse impacts
  • Adapting to climate change and other long term ecosystem change
  • Sustainable seafood promotion, development, and marketing
  • Socio-economic fisheries research
  • Advancing fisheries science in US territories, including research into enhancing annual catch limits and ecosystem-based fishery management

The deadline for submitting a pre-proposal is 20 September 2016.