Global deal aims to save tuna

International plan looks to reverse declining stocks and combat illegal fishing.

    Conservationists blame overfishing for the dwindling tuna population [AFP]

    The meeting, however, also highlighted some of the conflicts among participants.
     
    Japan, the world's biggest consumer of tuna, wanted to limit the fishing of smaller tuna but Europe resisted the move to protect its canned tuna industry.
     
    Japanese eat about a quarter of the world's supply of the five big species: bluefin, southern bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin and albacore.
     

    Europe resisted limits on fishing of small tuna to

    protect its canned tuna industry [GALLO/GETTY]

    Larger countries want to limit fishing capacity, but poorer island nations want to expand their fleets.
     
    Critics have blamed depleting tuna stocks on profit-driven overfishing and poaching, and say excess capacity in fishing fleets along with profits, drive the size of tuna catches.
     
    Conservationists urged regulators to tailor the size of fleets to match limits on the size of the catch.
     
    The meeting also discussed cracking down on tuna pirates where renegade boats were known to fly the flags of countries with weak regulations knowing that their overfishing would go unnoticed, and where smaller boats operated illegally.
     
    Electronic tagging of legally caught tuna was among the proposals to address illegal fishing, according to the delegates, who said that plastic tags already used in some countries could be expanded to cheap and easily traceable electronic tags.
     
    David Bevan, the Canadian Fisheries and Oceans assistant deputy minister, pointed out the importance of a global agreement on tuna.
     
    "It's a common heritage and it's being destroyed. It needs to be protected."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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