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No Action Taken to Save Pacific Bluefin Tuna at Japan Meeting

03 September 2015

JAPAN - The highly depleted population of Pacific bluefin tuna will get no reprieve after a meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Northern Committee in Sapporo, Japan concluded without agreement on any new conservation measures.

At the meeting, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Northern Committee, comprised of the ten governments that are charged with sustainably managing Pacific bluefin, made no progress towards either the short term measures needed to help the population recovery, or towards long-term measures necessary to rebuild the species to healthy levels, said the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Members could not even agree to on a request to its scientists to evaluate the effects of stricter management on the future health of the population.

“Unfortunately, the only outcome of this week’s meeting is a guarantee that the Pacific bluefin tuna population will decline even further because of the continued inaction of ten governments responsible for the management of this species,” said Amanda Nickson, director of global tuna conservation for The Pew Charitable Trusts.

According to an analysis from scientists with Japan’s National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries:

  • The size of the Pacific bluefin stock will continue to decline through 2018, even with full implementation of existing conservation measures
  • Over the next decade, there is a one in three chance that the Pacific bluefin population will fall to its lowest level ever recorded.

“It is disappointing that the Japanese government did not support a strong rebuilding plan for Pacific bluefin considering Japanese fishermen have the most to gain if the population rebuilds, and the most to lose if the population of this valuable species collapses. Since the member governments of the Northern Committee again failed to agree on needed protections, the international community may be forced to look at a global trade ban to help save this species.”

Further Reading

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