CSOs call for urgent actions at WCPFC15
The need for greater transparency in the Commission’s decision making process, greater fisheries observer coverage in the longline fishery, strengthened controls on high seas catches, safer working conditions for fishing crew and fisheries observers, to controlling wider oceanic environment marine pollution from fishing vessels are key issues that have been identified by CSOs.
“The need for greater observer coverage in the longline fishery ensures the accuracy and adequacy of data enhances the Commission’s ability to effectively manage the tuna fishery sustainably. Limited observer coverage limits the ability to monitor compliance with conservation and management measures."
“Controlling high seas catch, effort, capacity and associated activities in particular, at sea transshipments and in addition, the use of Fish Aggregation Devices and the impacts to coastal communities and small-scale fisheries and fishers must be taken into consideration in deliberations on FAD management. Safe working conditions and well-being of fishing crew and of fisheries observers, and the documentation and supporting mechanisms for reporting of incidences while they are at sea is a need and also the impacts on the wider oceanic environment of marine pollution from fishing vessels are key issues that need to be addressed,” the joint Communique stated.
The central concerns for the CSO delegation team at WCPFC15 relate to the sustainable and responsible utilization of tuna resources in the WCPFC Convention Area and with it the equitable distribution of returns to benefit all including Pacific Island Country domestic industrial fishers and local coastal communities.
The seven recommendations highlighted in the Communique for WCPFC15 included:
- Ensuring safe and decent working conditions of fishing crew and fisheries observers operating in the Convention Area.
- Without any further delay, establish a target reference point (TRP) for South Pacific Albacore tuna that will accomplish objectives to ensure the long-term sustainability, productivity and social benefits of the fishery.
- Improve transparency of the WCPFC proceedings.
- Increase the number of fisheries observers on board longline fishing vessels operating within the Commission’s jurisdiction to ensure improved catch data, reporting and compliance with regulations.
- Prohibiting at sea transhipments particularly on the high seas given the challenges of effectively monitoring transhipments on the high seas and recommend that transhipments take place in port.
- Take the necessary steps to implement CMM 2017/04 Conservation and Management Measure on Marine Pollution in particular prohibiting the discharging of any plastics and prohibiting the deliberate abandonment of fishing gear.
- Continue progressing, without delay, the development and adoption of robust and comprehensive harvest strategies including key elements, for all major tuna stocks.