Brussels, 15 December 2008.
The EU had gone to the meeting seeking an immediate reduction of 30% in catches of bigeye tuna, and a three-month total closure of the purse seine fishery on both species. However, the Commission recognises that the result achieved is significant, as this is the first time that WCPFC has adopted significant measures to limit the overexploitation of these stocks. Implementation of the plan should now be monitored carefully, to ensure that it is actually able to deliver effective protection and help determine what further measures are required in order to meet scientific advice.
In addition to the plan for tropical tunas, the WCPFC also adopted a number of other measures during the course of the meeting, including a limit on capacity in the swordfish fishery to prevent the stock becoming overexploited. A list of IUU vessels (vessels engaged in illegal, unrecorded and unregulated fisheries) was adopted, and measures to introduce a centralised satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS) were finalised. The VMS system, which has been some time in the planning, will now come into operation from 1 April 2009. The meeting also adopted new measures for the protection of sharks and sea turtles, and a long-term plan (through to 2018) for the gradual transfer of fishing capacity from developed states to developing states, with the aim of ensuring that small island development states get a greater share of the fishery.
The Fifth Annual Meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission was held in Busan, Korea from 6 to 12 December, where the European Commission represented the EU Member States.