Tuna Tales: WCPFC Conservation Measures for Pacific Tuna circumvented by DWFNs using Gaps in Governance


I found this caption in New Zealand Fishing News (01 May 2012). Its a rather cynical but somewhat accurate statement of the effect of the application conservation measures from WCPFC to tuna species.

Saving our Tuna. New Zealand Fishing News (01 May 2012)

This is a recurring them in tuna governance. One that the PNA at least are a little better at dealing with. The light blue in the map is the global distribution of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) and the circle is the approximate area of the PNA area.

I think WCPFC governance needs to the subject of a future blog post.


Shoal of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). From National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via Wikimedia Commons

Skipjack tuna

The skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), is a member Scombridae tuna family. It is also known as the aku, arctic bonito, or striped tuna.

It grows up to 1 m in length.Skipjack a streamlined, fast-swimming pelagic fish, common in tropical waters throughout the world, where it inhabits surface waters  and feeds on fish and other marine animals such as cephlapods. It is an important prey species for large pelagic fishes and sharks. It is a highly migratory species, swimming long distances to feed and reproduce.

They swim in  large schools (up to 50,000 fish), especially around floating objects or hydrographic discontinuities such as convergence zones, boundaries between cold and warm water masses, and upwelling areas, where dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water is pushed toward the ocean surface, replacing the warmer, usually nutrient-depleted surface water.

Skipjack are considered to be the most fecund of the main commercial tunas.The western and central Pacific Ocean supports the largest tuna fishery in the world by volume.  

This WCPO tuna is managed by the WCPFC. A large portion of this catch comes from purse seine fisheries for skipjack tuna. 

New Zealand’s fisheries for skipjack can be divided into two main components: a tropical component that operates throughout the year in equatorial waters, and a subtropical component that extends seasonally into New Zealand fisheries waters. The latter component is fished by both commercial and non-commercial fishers.

Challenges for managing WCPO Skipjack include: Managing the by-catch of juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna in the tropical purse seine fishery; Assessing the trophic role of skipjack in marine ecosystems; and managing the interests of coastal states (in particular PICs) and those of DWFNs are the global market.


One thought on “Tuna Tales: WCPFC Conservation Measures for Pacific Tuna circumvented by DWFNs using Gaps in Governance

  1. Pingback: The challenges of purse seine versus longline tuna fishing | Green Fish Blue Fish

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s