AT a recent meeting in Brisbane of the Pacific Island Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) executive the meeting noted with grave concern and disappointment the failure,yet again, of the 11th annual session of Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to make any substantive progress in considering pressing issues relating to Pacific tuna fisheries management.
Despite the efforts of Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Secretariats and members, discussions of key issues for tropical tuna and albacore were stalled by the DWFN countries resulting in no progress being made.
PITIA believes that the faith in WCPFC as a functional RFMO is now eroded to the extent that there is no longer confidence in Commission processes to effectively manage the Pacific tuna fisheries.
It is also clear that the interests of Small Island Developing States as reflected in the convention simply receive lip service and are not sufficiently taken into account.
WCPFC now has proven to be unable to settle key issues and has settled into a process of agreeing to disagree, failing to reach the necessary compromises required for action on issues that should be the primary business of the Commission.
It is becoming increasingly clear that FFA and PNA members need to move forward with meaningful and effective management arrangements through continuing to enhance internal management avenues such as the 3rd Implementing Arrangement of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and the recently adopted Arrangement of certain countries who participate in the Southern Longline Albacore Fishery.
PITIA continues to call for stronger and smarter management that is linked to the responsible and sustainable development of the WCPFC tuna fisheries for all members.