IATTC Needs To Act Urgently To Protect Eastern Pacific Tuna Fisheries

Governments and fishing companies aren't doing enough to prevent the decline of tuna stocks as they put the demands of the fishing industry and consumers above the sustainability of marine life.

Tuna stocks around the world are dwindling because of fishing pressure, which is increasing due to the high value of the catch. The Pacific Islands fishery is the world's biggest, taking more than 1.2 million tonnes of tuna annually, with the eastern Pacific second, with a yearly catch of more than half a million tonnes. But the latter's regulatory body is failing in its job. Bigeye and yellowfin tuna populations are falling and the average size of captured fish is shrinking, a clear sign that those tuna are in dire need of conservation measures.

Following much needed measures introduced in the Pacific Islands Fishery last month, urgent measures to save falling stocks of tuna in the world's second-biggest tuna fishery, the eastern Pacific, must be initiated at a key international meeting this week. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) must follow the advice of its own scientists and adopt forceful conservation measures at its annual meeting in Panama City.

Environmental groups are warning that closures of the fishery, both by area and by time, must be brought in to protect tumbling Pacific populations of skipjack and bigeye tuna.

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