WWF has welcomed efforts taken by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to increase their commitment to the sustainable management of their tuna fisheries and minimise impact on bycatch species like sharks, turtles and marine mammals.
The PNA, which includes the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, gathered this week to determine rules for fishing in the region and agree on the terms and conditions for tuna purse seine fishing licences.
Strong fisheries management measures taken by the PNA to implement in their free-school purse seine tuna fisheries include:
· Restrictions on the use of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs)
· Prohibitions on setting nets on whales sharks to avoid whale shark bycatch
· Committing to 100% independent at sea observers to verify catches and bycatch
· Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification of PNA´s purse seine skipjack fishery
“The PNA free-school purse seine tuna fishery was the first in the world to receive certification under the MSC, considered the most comprehensive and robust seafood standard for sustainable fishing currently available on the market,” said Alfred `Bubba` Cook, Western Central Pacific Tuna Program Officer, Smart Fishing Initiative, WWF.
The PNA approach to fisheries management embraces the “ecosystem approach”, a form of sustainable fisheries management that is increasingly gaining success with governments and industries because of its effectiveness.
While there is still much more to be done in both the certified and non-certified fisheries in the PNA, the proactive conservation and management steps the PNA has taken thus far in their MSC certified free-school tuna fisheries are contributing towards a healthy ocean ecosystem.
“The PNA’s example of independently taking proactive conservation measures should be emulated by other fisheries around the world.
“WWF is committed to helping the PNA further its steps towards sustainable fishing.” said Mr Cook.