Pacific nations have called out major fishing nations using loopholes to duck out of properly reporting their fishing catches in Pacific waters, reports Solomon Star News.
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) members at the 10th Scientific Committee meeting of the WCPFC said the missing data was critical to help prevent over-fishing in Pacific waters.
One of the obligations that all members signed up to when they joined the WCPFC was to provide full catch and effort data on the operations of their fishing vessels in the Convention Area.
“Yet, here we are 10 years down the track, and there are still four Asian Co-operating Country Members that are hiding behind the temporary deferment that allowed them time to amend their domestic regulations – laws that might have technically prevented them from supplying this operational data at the time of agreement,” said Tiga Galo, Tokelau chair of the FFA Science working group.
The other reason for frustration from FFA members and many other countries at the WCPFC Scientific Committee meeting is scale.
They say if Pacific developing states, some of them classed by the UN as least developed countries, can meet their reporting obligations to the WCPFC – major countries fishing the region should face more scrutiny on why they cannot do the same.
“Quite frankly, we think these other countries are just making excuses,” said Galo.
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Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China have come under fire for reportedly not providing operational tuna catch data to scientists.