Island nations fret over tuna supply

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GOOD CATCH. Tuna at the General Santos City fishport. Photo by Edwin Espejo

The future of the world’s largest tuna fishery will be decided at a meeting in Cairns, Australia, this week, with Pacific island nations demanding tighter controls on a catch now worth US$7.0 billion a year. A record 2.65 million tons of tuna was hauled from the Pacific last year, accounting for 60% of the global catch, with most of the fishing conducted by so-called “distant water” fleets from as far afield as Europe, the United States, China, Korea and Taiwan. The fear is that stocks are becoming unsustainable. Many distant water fishing nations are resisting attempts by coastal states to improve the management of the tuna resource. A showdown at the forum looms.

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