Fish luring devices divide Asia-Pacific tuna meet

Dec 04, 2012 by Mynardo Macaraig
Greenpeace activists protest during the 9th regular session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Manila. Tuna-harvesting nations of the Pacific argued at a key meeting in Manila Tuesday over how best to regulate devices that attract the giant fish, amid growing concern over depleted stocks, officials said.

Tuna-harvesting nations of the Pacific argued at a key meeting in Manila Tuesday over how best to regulate devices that attract the giant fish, amid growing concern over depleted stocks, officials said.

A call to extend an annual ban on fish aggregating devices (FADs) to four months was among the most contentious issues at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting.

An annual July-September ban on FADS is already in place in waters that account for 's tuna catch, and a four-month ban would hurt small Pacific nations the most, said Palau fishing official Nanette Malsol.

"We don't want to put any disproportionate burden on smaller countries," said Malsol, who chairs Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PAN), a coalition of small Pacific island nations.

She said her group opposes the extension of the so-called "closed period" unless smaller nations are compensated.

FADS are made of buoys tethered to the . They can attract huge numbers of fish, allowing boats to haul them in quickly rather than spending time and fuel searching for schools of tuna.

Critics say fishing with FADS means are snared, as well as bycatch that includes threatened species like sharks, rays and .

About a dozen Greenpeace delegates staged a protest at the venue, calling for a total FADS ban to allow to recover.

"FADS must be banned if we want to see our tuna stocks survive," the environmental campaign group's delegation head Lagi Toribau said.

"Not only does it contribute to the of , it also results in a large amount of unwanted bycatch."

Other delegates told AFP none of the 30 member-nations and territories attending, including the US, China, Japan and Australia, favoured a total FADS ban but many of them recognised the need to limit their use.

However, they said they disagreed on how this should be done.

Malsol said the American delegation opposed compensation for smaller nations.

US-based Pew Environment Group, which also sent delegates to the meeting, estimates between 47,000 and 105,000 FADS are in use worldwide.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has previously warned that global tuna stocks are fast reaching the limits of sustainability due to a lack of comprehensive catch-limits.

Explore further: Citizen scientists match research tool when counting sharks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Overfishing threatens Pacific tuna

Dec 02, 2012

Asia-Pacific fishing experts on Sunday warned against depleting tuna stocks, saying the region needs to reduce its catch of the vulnerable bigeye species by 30 percent.

Greenpeace takes on tuna fishing

Apr 23, 2008

Greenpeace says it confronted a U.S. tuna boat in the South Pacific this week as part of an effort to fight overfishing by commercial fishing fleets.

Tuna populations at risk

Jun 19, 2008

[B]International agency challenged to stop over-fishing[/B]
A historic meeting next week may decide the fate of tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, one of the world's most important marine resources.

Bluefin tuna quotas up for renewal

Nov 12, 2012

Fishing nations meet in Morocco this week to thrash out tuna quotas as experts urge maintaining bluefin catch limits amid promising signs of the decimated species making a comeback.

Recommended for you

Invasive vines swallow up New York's natural areas

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —When Antonio DiTommaso, a Cornell weed ecologist, first spotted pale swallow-wort in 2001, he was puzzled by it. Soon he noticed many Cornell old-field edges were overrun with the weedy vines. ...

Citizen scientists match research tool when counting sharks

23 hours ago

Shark data collected by citizen scientists may be as reliable as data collected using automated tools, according to results published April 23, 2014, in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Gabriel Vianna from The University of Wes ...

Researchers detail newly discovered deer migration

Apr 23, 2014

A team of researchers including University of Wyoming scientists has documented the longest migration of mule deer ever recorded, the latest development in an initiative to understand and conserve ungulate ...

How Australia got the hump with one million feral camels

Apr 23, 2014

A new study by a University of Exeter researcher has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia's remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LariAnn
1 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2012
Unfortunately, this problem will solve itself because, while the bureaucrats and politicians bicker and debate, the tuna stocks will gradually diminish to zero. With tuna extinct, the FADS won't be any use any more. Hopefully, the collapse of the world's oceanic ecosystems that will result from this will end up in the trials and deaths of those same bureaucrats and politicians whose inaction caused the debacle.

More news stories

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...

Study links California drought to global warming

While researchers have sometimes connected weather extremes to man-made global warming, usually it is not done in real time. Now a study is asserting a link between climate change and both the intensifying California drought ...

Autism Genome Project delivers genetic discovery

A new study from investigators with the Autism Genome Project, the world's largest research project on identifying genes associated with risk for autism, has found that the comprehensive use of copy number variant (CNV) genetic ...