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|United States, October 22, 12|
The most efficient measures to conserve bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean are policies that outlaw FADs in the purse seine fishery and restrict longline fishing in spawning areas, according to a group of prominent marine researchers.
In a new report published last week, John Sibert (University of Hawaii), John Hampton (Secretariat of the Pacific Community), Inna Senina and Patrick Lehodey (both of the Collecte Localisation Satellites), found that the region’s conservation measure to close the high-seas pockets to purse seiners has “negligible effect” on the bigeye tuna (BET) biomass. They say it was hailed as a conservation measure in 2009, but it was not scientifically evaluated before implementation and appears to have had no beneficial effect on the BET stock.
The group used a spatially explicit age-structured ecosystem model, SEAPODYM, to simulate alternative area-based fishery management policies to conserve BET in the Pacific.
Currently, over half of the total BET landed in the Western and Central Pacific is caught incidentally in the purse seine fishery and sold for canning at prices less than USD 2/kg. The remainder is landed in BET longline fisheries and sold as fresh or frozen tuna at prices greater than USD 10/kg. The combined fishing mortality by all gears is expected to soon reduce the BET biomass in the Pacific to levels below its maximum sustainable yield.