THE Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) and Tokelau’s proposal on a skipjack tuna has been withdrawn from the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) as Japan has refused to agree to the measure.
The measure would have set a reference point, or agreed level of fishing for skipjack tuna, the most common tuna used primarily in canned tuna.
PNA manages the world’s largest healthy stock of skipjack tuna, providing 50% of the world’s supply.
PNA Chief Executive Officer Solomon Islander Dr Transform Aqorau said the proposal would have set fishing effort of skipjack tuna to sustainable levels and also protected tuna stocks which is one reason the WCPFC was formed.
“Instead Japan proposes to cut down fishing for half of the foreign purse seine vessels fishing in the Small Islands Developing States and this would include all the Japanese purse seine fleet,” commented Dr Aqorau.
“Their argument that this is a good enough tradeoff between the economic impacts on SIDS and the impacts of their domestic communities is wrong and contradicts the convention and their alternative proposal fails article 30 of the WCPFC convention,” said Dr Aqorau.
Dr Aqorau said the PNA still felt the measure was solid and would have benefitted the Commission.
On the floor of the WCPFC, PNA expressed disappointment whilst addressing the commission in a closing statement on their proposal which had the approval of most members except Japan.
It said despite understanding Japan’s concern for the declines in its coastal fisheries, they would have greatly strengthened the WCPFC management of skipjack tuna and related fisheries if they had agreed to the proposal on skipjack tuna.