WWF statement following 20th meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission

Posted on December, 12 2023

Following a marathon negotiation, the 20th meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) closed on Friday, 8 December 2023 with four important advancements for more sustainable tuna fisheries: the establishment of a target reference point for south Pacific albacore, a pan-Pacific harvest strategy for north Pacific albacore, a long overdue increase to longline observer coverage and strengthened management for skipjack tuna by linking tropical tuna management to the skipjack management procedure.
WWF welcomes these important steps forward, having called on WCPFC members for successive years to progress the adoption of harvest strategies and to increase the level of scientific observation in the sorely under-monitored, but crucially important, tropical and southern longline fisheries.
While WWF is encouraged by the adoption of these measures, it cautions that there is still a lot of work to do.
WWF will continue to urge the WCPFC to improve its monitoring and scientific observation, including through electronic tools. Good data, and good monitoring, are the best lines of defence to solve conservation challenges and stamp out illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing across the region. WWF will continue to be an active voice and work with members to advance this issue.
Moreover, WWF calls on the WCPFC to address the increasingly urgent conservation challenges across the region, including fish aggregating device (FADs) tracking, recovery and retrieval, phase-in of fully biodegradable FADs, seabird bycatch and protection for critically endangered shark populations. While WWF appreciates the complexity of these fisheries discussions and their importance for national economies, time is running out to secure improvements for the important, iconic biodiversity of the Pacific region.
Finally, WWF urges the Commission to finalize its work on labour conditions as a fundamental component of ensuring sustainable and ethical fisheries.
Wild albacore tuna
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