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Fisheries, Philippines

Philippines steps up lobby efforts on fish ban

The Philippines government has approved the creation of a team responsible for the country’s strategic positioning, bargaining, and negotiations with the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

The team includes representatives from the foreign affairs (DFA), and trade and industry (DTI), the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and other fishing industry leaders.

The team will attend the 8th WCPFC regular session on December 5-9, 2011, at Ngarachamayong Cultural Centre, Madalii in Koror, Palau. Among the agenda items for discussion is the stock status of key tuna species and evaluation of the WCPFC Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) 2008-01.

Under the CMM, the WCPFC implemented on January 1, 2008 the closure of high sea pockets in the Pacific Ocean to address overfishing of various types of tuna like big-eye, yellowfin, skipjack, and South Pacific albacore. The closure has since then adversely affected Philippine tuna production.

The Philippines recently sent two BFAR scientists to attend the 7th Regular Session of the WCPFC Scientific Committee (SC) in August 9-17, in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. They have reported back that WCPFC SC concluded that tuna, specifically the yellow fin species, is not experiencing overfishing. However, the SC recommended that there should be no increase in fishing efforts in the western equatorial region.

The conference also learned that bigeye tuna was nearing the overfishing level, prompting the WCPFC SC to recommend a 32 percent reduction in fishing effort to address the diminishing stock.

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About Samantha Magick

Journalist and editor

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