14th session of Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission begins in Manila

by Leanne Jorani | 4 December 2017 | News

WCPFC Chair Rhea Moss-Christian at the opening session of the 14th annual general session of the Pacific Tuna Commission (WCPFC) Photo: FFAmedia

by Leanne Jorari, EMTV

Dec 3, 2017, WCPFC14 MANILA— Fisheries Minister Patrick Basa joined delegations from Pacific nations and fishing powers such as Europe, China and the United States at the 14th regular session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in the Philippines today.

Their task is to set the rules for the world’s biggest fishery.

Leanne Jorari reports from Manila:

Around 700 delegates from commission member countries and stakeholders in the global fishing industry will attend the 5-day meeting, which began this morning in Manila.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, is an international body that that governs fishing activity, particularly for highly migratory tuna.

The commission’s annual meetings are aimed at developing conservation and management measures for the tuna stock.

Papua New Guinea, a member of the commission and the 2nd largest tuna producer amongst the Pacific Island countries, had a seat at the table and urged the commission to focus on its main mandate; to manage fishing efforts in the high seas and to address the issue of ‘disproportionate burden’ resource-owning countries like PNG face in putting conservation measures into effect.

The western and central pacific is home to the world’s largest tuna fishery, yielding 56 percent of the total catch in 2016. Most of the largest tuna fleets in the world operate in the WCPFC convention area.

Fisheries Minister, Patrick Basa, emphasized Papua New Guinea’s position, that the zone-based measures that have delivered economic benefit to Pacific nations, should not be undermined.

In her opening statement, Rhea Moss Christian; the WCPFC chair, stated that the commission has been working on developing a more robust, streamlined tropical tuna measure.