- SeafoodSource, December 12, 2022
- See also – MSC Praises Skipjack Harvest Strategy Adoption in WCPO, ATuna December 23 2022.
In December 2022, The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) came to an agreement to adopt a management procedure (MP) for skipjack tuna. This agreement is non-binding because PNA countries, who proposed this plan, prefer to keep their ability to use an effort-based vessel-day scheme for management as opposed to total allowable catch. While the skipjack stock managed by the WCPFC is currently deemed healthy, the adoption of an MP is important for ensuring the stock’s long-term sustainability and although non-binding this is a step in the right direction.
Rohan Currey, MSC Chief Science and Standard Officer says “The agreements reached in Da Nang will now be reviewed by the independent conformity assessment bodies (CABs) responsible for certifying 33 tuna fisheries in the WCPO to the MSC fisheries standard. Tuna fisheries which continue to meet the minimum requirements of MSC certification will have the opportunity to adopt the new version of the MSC Fisheries Standard early, giving them five years to meet new requirements for more comprehensive, state-of-the-art harvest strategies.”
Our thoughts: The WCPFC has been trying to put in place reference points and harvest strategies for over 10 years now. There is no reason why the skipjack stock cannot continue to be managed via an effort based scheme, as long as it maintains the stock at the target level. Whether this meets the MSC standard under the current certification or the new Standard – if they fisheries choose to go forward – will be assessed by the independent assessment companies. We look to them to be diligent and clear in their assessment and interpretation.