Monday, December 3, 2012

Pacific Nations Alarmed by Tuna Overfishing

Angelo Villagomez of the
Pew Environment Group
shows a sample of a line
 and hook.

MANILA, Philippines — Pacific island nations and environmentalists raised an alarm Sunday over destructive fishing methods and overfishing that they say are threatening bigeye tuna — the fish popular among sushi lovers worldwide.

Palau fisheries official Nanette Malsol, who leads a bloc of Pacific island nations, said at the start of a weeklong tuna fisheries conference in Manila that large countries should cut back on fishing, curb the use of destructive fishing methods and respect fishing bans to allow tuna stocks to be replenished in the Pacific, which produces more than 60 percent of the world’s tuna catch.

The annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which regulates commercial fishing in the vast expanse of waters from Indonesia to Hawaii, is to approve steps aimed at protecting the bigeye and other threatened tuna species, along with giant whale sharks. More than 600 delegates from about 40 Asian and Western countries, along with environmental activists, are attending.

Malsol said she expects heated debate. Proponents of the multibillion-dollar fishing industry have squared off with conservationists in the past over the best ways to protect the bigeye and other species without considerably setting back the lucrative business.

Read the full story on the Washington Post.

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