Tuna fishery sustainability secured at Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission annual meeting

8 December 2021

The Australian Government has joined with Pacific Island countries to ensure ongoing sustainability of the world’s largest tuna fishery.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam welcomed the outcomes of the 18th annual meeting of Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), which was held virtually from 1 to 7 December.

“I am very pleased that the WCPFC has agreed to maintain strong management arrangements for key tuna stocks, including yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. 

“This measure will protect tropical tuna stocks relied on by the Australian and Pacific fishing industries for a further two years. 

“Australia’s fourth most valuable domestic fishery, the $39.8 million Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery, benefits from the continuation of this measure. 

“The WCPFC governs the world’s largest tuna fishery, supplying over 50 per cent of the world’s tuna. The key tuna stocks are all healthy, and the commission has implemented robust management arrangements to ensure the sustainability and effective governance of this highly valuable fishery.

“Pacific Island countries are committed to progressing harvest strategy development in 2022, including through agreeing to hold the first WCPFC Science-Management Dialogue to build capacity and understanding of harvest strategy processes and progress critical management decisions. 

“Australia will continue to lead this important work that builds on our strong success in implementing harvest strategies in our domestic fisheries.

“Australia is also leading work in WCPFC to develop a new measure to ensure the sustainability of south west Pacific swordfish, a key stock for the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery.

“We welcome the strong support from Pacific Island countries for the draft measure Australia prepared and look forward to working with other members on this critical issue in 2022.

“Australia is full committed to ensuring the sustainability of global fisheries and looks forward to working further with our Pacific family on these important matters.”