Japan not optimistic about fisheries talk

By Pita Ligaiula - Philippines in Manila ,

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Yellowfin tuna.

Yellowfin tuna.

Japan has painted a gloomy picture on negotiations for a new Tropical Tuna Measure at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (W.C.P.F.C.)

Tropical tunas include Skipjack, Bigeye and Yellowfin tuna.

The Tropical Tuna Measure sets the rules for the fishery but is due to expire at the end of this year.

With new science showing stocks are in better shape than previously thought, there is pressure from some Distant Water Fishing Nations (D.W.F.N.) to relax the rules.

Pacific nations do not want to see any additional mortality for bigeye tuna – a position which is in line with the latest scientific advice.

Members of the W.C.P.F.C. have been working for more than a year on a Tropical Tuna Bridging Measure but the process is difficult because decision-making at W.C.P.F.C. is generally done by consensus and views of the D.W.F.N.s often conflict with those of the Pacific states.

Head of delegation for Japan, Shingo Ota told journalists in Manila he is not so hopeful the commission will come out with a concrete outcome.

 “Not so much. Well, that. I don’t want to talk about this because, you know, that may affect the negotiation. 

“The only thing I can say is that we really hope to have something at the end of this meeting,” he said.

Mr. Ota said Japan’s position was that the Commission should not weaken the current Tropical Tuna Measure that was expected to end later this month.

 “Actually, our position is, I think we should not weaken the current measures at all. Or rather, you know, taking into accounts the concern about juvenile catches by F.A.D. fishing, I think we should have additional measures to strengthen fund management. That’s our position. But unfortunately, this is a very minority view. 

“I don’t want to imagine no rule after this meeting. That would be a very chaotic situation,” said Mr. Ota.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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