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EXECUTIVES of the Pacific Tuna Commission have expressed satisfaction over the level of discussions and the outcomes that have been reached at its annual general meeting.
This comes after years of meetings from which the Pacific has left disappointed.
Chairwoman Rhea Moss Christian said at a press conference held at the conclusion of the 13th Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission said the highlights were the adoption of the measures on observer safety this year.
Ms Christian said the measure was important and had been adopted by consensus adding it had given the commission the much needed motivation and pride that it had needed.
It is the first time the commission had introduced the concept of small working groups, a move which was Ms Moss-Chritian’s initiative.
Ms Moss-Chritian said the small working groups had enabled thorough discussions and the excellent progress on outcomes including the harvest strategy elements, despite the complexity of the framework, a view that was widely endorsed by both fishing nations and the Pacific.
Ms Moss-Chriistian said another key outcome was the forced reconvening of the Northern Committee during the course of the meeting last week.
This unprecedented action forced Japan and other members of that committee to go and look for more effective ways to halt overfishing of critically-low stocks of Pacific Bluefin tuna.
Ms Moss-Christian said this undoubtedly would have signalled to the distant water fishing nations (DWFN) that the commission as a whole would be taking … a closer look at the status of the Bluefin stock, and the recommendations it puts forward for adoption.
“What has happened this week sets a new tone for the way forward on how the commission addresses fish stocks that are overfished or are in a critical state,” the chair said.
WCPFC Feleti Teo said it had been a long week with the discussions on the last day of the meeting being quite tense and testing for all participants.
He said the discussions on observer topic could have provided challenges for the commission had it not been agreed to by members, in turn reflecting negatively on the work that had been done over the course of the week.
However, he is pleased it turned out well.
He said the secretariat of the commission was pleased that there were now clear directions it was getting from the commission pertaining that lies ahead for it.
In this regard its strategic plan would be key going forward.
He said while this was not one of the measures that had been adopted, the importance of having this document had been noticed among members of the commission.
“It will take time to get a common platform on which the commission would agree to the key objectives and priorities but what was agreed to was that further discussions needed to undertaken, the members need to be more involved,” he said.
Despite this the CEO said work will continue on the plan and on the important business of securing the future of the region’s tuna stocks.
“I am reasonably happy in terms of the discussions held this week ..especially the steps taken by the commission in subscribing to the new approach on harvest strategy towards the fisheries management,” Mr Teo said.–ENDS