By Elenoa Dimaira

There are high expectations of a new Tropical Tuna Measure when the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting concludes on Friday this week in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Forum Fisheries Commission Glen Joseph said while there was a wide ranging of views, the 17 member countries of the Forum Fisheries Agency were concerned with the compliance gaps between purse seine and long line fishing.

“One of the efforts that the FFA members are pushing for is a balancing act between what we ought to be looking at in bringing the longline fishery under the compliance mechanism, otherwise known as the compliance measure.”

The Tropical Tuna Measure guides fishing controls for bigeye, skipjack, and yellowfin tuna in the WCPFC’s jurisdiction.

WWF Pacific Western and Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager, Bubba Cook said the tuna stocks in the region were still “green” and healthy but there were some trends that were concerning with respect to some of the tuna stocks like yellowfin and bigeye tuna.

“There’s a need to make measures count when the stocks are good. So that is what the discussion was about yesterday, there was the introduction of the Tropical Tuna Working Group and the outcome from that working group, which is the Tropical Tuna measure, which has a number of different provisions in it that are both allocated in nature as well as conservation oriented in nature. And it will be very important to see that a measure approved at this meeting,” Cook said.

Tuvalu Director of Fisheries, Samuela Finekaso said Tuvalu had benefitted a lot from the existing measure, which had resulted in an increase licensing fees and also a number of joint ventures with fishing companies.