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To meet the increasing global demand for fish and address over-exploitation of natural resources, sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture is the dire need of the hour. Although two thirds of global fish production comes from the Asia-Pacific region, authentic information on most of the commercially important species is difficult to find and at the best is piecemeal and confusing. AsiaPacific-FishWatch is undertaking the daunting task of finding and collating information on Asia-Pacific species of commercially important fish (including crustaceans, molluscs, echinoderms and plants), their fisheries and aquaculture through the value chain. This information, gleaned and extracted from many publications and personal contributions of experts will be a boon to scientists, development workers, planners and administrators. Information on four oceanic and one coastal tuna species has been published and further work is in progress.

I congratulate the Asian Fisheries Society and contributing scientists. It is my firm hope that more scientists will join to contribute their knowledge for the sustainable management of the fisheries and aquaculture.

- Dr Modadugu V. Gupta, Sunhak Peace Prize Laurate (2015), World Food Prize (2005)
and former Assistant Director General WorldFish Center. 

MVG

19 May

Handy updates on Asia-Pacific tuna stock status

Written by  Meryl J Williams

The biennial INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition in Bangkok (21-23 May 2014) is a good time to check the most up-to-date information on the status of tuna stocks, including those of the Western and Central Pacific and Indian oceans.

Tuna Trade 2012The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation makes this check easier for us. It commissions its Scientific Advisory Committee to overview analyses of the status of status of stocks in all regional fisheries management bodies, and other experts to check stocks against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards.

Status of Stocks

For the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye and albacore tuna, the status of the stocks are unchanged since the last major update in 2012. Although none of the stocks are currently overfished, concern is expressed for bycatch in certain types of fishing (longline and certain sections of the purse seine fisheries) and the lack of management controls in the equatorial area of the yellowfin fishery and in the bigeye fishery.

In the Indian Ocean, skipack and bigeye status did not change since the last assessments; the yellowfin stock needs reassessment because of recent higher fishing levels; and for albacore the abundance has changed from yellow to green despite that fishing mortality went from yellow to orange. For all stocks, bycatch in purse seine, longline and the large and growing gillnet fisheries is of concern.

Assessment against MSC Standards

The assessments against MSC standards (by experienced assessors) covered the sustainable fish stocks principle (P1) and the effective management principle (P3), but did not do the minimising environmental impact principle (P2). Of the 8 Western and Central Pacific and Indian Ocean stocks assessed, 3 received a passing score on P1, namely WCPO skipjack and Indian Ocean skipjack and yellowfin. Among the regional management organisations, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission was the most highly rated globally, just ahead of Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.

FURTHER INFORMATION

  • AsiaPacific-FishWatch skipjack profile: SKIPJACK
  • AsiaPacific-FishWatch yellowfin tuna profile: YELLOWFIN TUNA (partially complete)

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