FUKUOKA — An international fisheries commission began discussing details of fishing restrictions for bluefin tuna in the northern Pacific at a meeting in southwestern Japan on Monday amid concerns about overfishing.
At a subcommittee meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission held through Friday in the city of Fukuoka, participants are discussing the possibility of invoking a catch limit based on Japan’s proposal.
The panel is discussing specific control measures with an eye to reaching a formal agreement within this year.
The commission agreed last year to compile emergency measures to deal with a sharp drop in tune stocks and details are to be worked out this year.
Steps being discussed include a fishing ban or drastic cuts in catches if the stock of tuna younger than 1 year old remains low for three consecutive years, according to Japanese government officials.
The Japanese government sees the threshold at about 4.5 million tunas — the level seen in 1992 and 1993.
As a major consumer of bluefin tuna, Japan is hoping to lead the discussion by proactively addressing the fisheries resource management, they said.
Among other participants, the United States is proposing a long-term goal to restore the amount of parent fish to about 130,000 tons by 2030.
Meanwhile, nongovernmental organizations Greenpeace and the Pew Charitable Trusts have issued a statement requesting the WCPFC to immediately implement a 2-year moratorium on all commercial fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna.
They urged the member states to take immediate action as the population of bluefin tuna has drastically fallen to just 2.6 percent of its historic unfished size, well below the 10 percent threshold deemed a resource collapse.