Protect fishing crew and observers
From NETANI RIKA, Islands Business
CREW and observers on fishing vessels must be protected as much as tuna and sharks.
The call came as th Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission met here to discuss tuna conservation methods.
There has been growing concern at consecutive WCPFC meetings on the safety of crew and observers.
World Wide Fund for Nature's Bubba Cook said there needed to be protection of humans and tuna.
"If we can't protect the crew on these vessels, how can we honestly look at ourselves in the mirror and say we can protect the conservation of the resource?" he asked.
Several conservation management measures are being discussed at the 19th WCPFC Session.
Outcomes are expected on skipjack at this meeting with a harvest strategy for South Pacific Albacore in 2023.
At the same time, WWF along with the Pacific Conference of Churches and other partners have sought better welfare for humans in the industry.
"Addressing crew welfare on board vessels is an important feature of giving information on what's happening at sea a level of transparency that allows us to better address the conservation assets as well," Cook said.
"We can't really expect a crew member to respect the resource and release sharks unharmed if they're being abused on board the vessels."
The session ends on Sunday.