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WWF - News on marine environment issues



News, publications and job feeds from WWF - the global conservation organization



 



WWF deeply concerned over imminent certification of Mexican tuna fishery

2017-08-05Sat, 05 Aug 2017 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Gland, Switzerland, 5 August 2017 – WWF has expressed its deep concern at the likely Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the Northeastern Tropical Pacific tuna dolphin-set purse seine fishery. WWF had previously objected to this certification proposal due to its belief that impacts of the fishery on depleted dolphin populations have not been sufficiently examined and addressed, therefore not meeting the MSC standard. An independent adjudicator assigned to consider the objection has now dismissed WWF's challenge.  
 
"This is a deeply troubling outcome that we believe shows that the MSC standard is not consistently being adhered to by certifiers and that the objections procedure provides insufficient opportunity for consideration of the scientific basis for certifiers' conclusions," said Franck Hollander, Seafood Officer for WWF-Germany and the global team lead for WWF on this project.
 
In the waters of the Eastern Pacific, one technique used for decades to catch tuna involves targeting schools of tuna associated with dolphins, contributing to high dolphin mortality. Despite reductions in the number of dolphins killed by this practice, it is yet unknown whether populations have recovered from dramatic declines that began in the late 1950s and continued though the early 1990s.
 
In October 2016, WWF filed an objection to the MSC assessment conducted by an independent certifier based on two factors: that the information used to assess fishery impacts on depleted dolphin species was not transparent and that the assessment did not accurately account for impacts of the fishery on dolphin populations.
 
 "While WWF continues to support the MSC as the world's leading wild-caught sustainable seafood certification program, it remains our opinion that the Northeastern Tropical Pacific purse seine tuna fishery does not meet the MSC standard. Depleted dolphin populations that frequently associate with commercially-targeted schools of tuna in the Eastern Pacific could be negatively impacted by this fishery. WWF believes the existing science does not support the conclusions made in the assessment," Hollander said.
 
"WWF urges all stakeholders to work together to improve fishing practices and the availability of up-to-date scientific information on the impacted dolphin stocks in order to quantify and address any impacts of the fishery," said Enrique Sanjurjo, Lead, Food Practice, WWF-Mexico.
 
WWF recommends that seafood buyers should not consider this fishery as sustainable.
 
--- ends ---
For media requests, please contact:
Rucha Naware | WWF International | rnaware@wwfint.org | +44 739 377 6573
 
For technical questions, please contact:
Franck Hollander | WWF-Germany | franck.hollander@wwf.de
 
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media
 
 


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New report highlights business opportunity using credible sustainability standards to achieve SDGs

2017-02-14Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0000

A new report published by WWF and ISEAL indicates how businesses can contribute strongly to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and unlock new market opportunities by using credible voluntary sustainability standards to transform entire sectors and supply chains. The report, "SDGs mean business: How credible standards can help companies deliver the 2030 Agenda" illustrates how such standards - ready-made tools for businesses and supply chain actors - can help accelerate progress on many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while delivering direct benefits for companies and small-scale producers.Credible, multi-stakeholder standards embody the partnership spirit of the SDGs, bringing together businesses, NGOs, governments and others to work toward common goals that benefit business, people and the planet. They are an important mechanism to help companies reach their targets by scaling-up sustainable practices. Tried and tested on the ground, they can be used at every link in the value chain – enabling producers, harvesters and processors to achieve a recognized level of sustainability, and traders, manufacturers and retailers to address the impacts of their supply chains. Sustainability standards translate the broad concept of sustainability into specific, concrete measures for companies and their suppliers. With broad uptake, they can move whole industries toward improved social, environmental and economic performance. This can make a major contribution to the SDGs.Net benefitsMany farmers using sustainability standards have seen net increases in their incomes due to productivity and quality improvements. For example, the BCI's 2014 Harvest Report found farmers following the BCI standard across seven countries had significantly higher yields (ranging from +11 per cent in China and India to more than +50 per cent in Tajikistan and Mozambique) and higher profits per hectare than conventional cotton farmers, while using less water and chemical inputs. For certified coffee farmers, this has translated among other benefits to improved school attendance of their children. In Indonesia, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) smallholder certification is taking pressure off elephants and tigers in Tesso Nilo National Park where French retailer Carrefour has been working with WWF to support smallholders to achieve RSPO certification. Smallholders taking part in the project have managed to increase productivity through better management practices, without expanding into the national park. For businesses certification helps to manage risk. The social and environmental impacts of palm oil production for example represent a significant risk for investors. To mitigate these risks, a number of finance institutions, including the International Finance Corporation, Credit Suisse and Rabobank, require their clients to achieve RSPO certification. Key elements of a credible sustainability standard include:Multistakeholder participation: a standard's requirements should be developed and governed through a multistakeholder process, involving representatives from across the entire supply chain from businesses, civil society, governments, research institutions and NGOs, with balanced decision-making. This should ensure the standard has positive social and environmental impacts, while also being practically and economically viable for large-scale uptake.Transparency: details of the standard, how it is applied and how decisions are made, including certification assessments, should be clear and publicly available.Independent verification: compliance with the standard should be verified by an accredited, independent third party auditor or certification body. Impartial and periodic field-level verification is essential to understand whether a standard is actually achieving its mission.Continuous improvement: the standard and the system should be regularly reviewed to incorporate the latest information and lessons learned and en[...]


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Malaysia's largest marine park comes to life

2016-05-29Sun, 29 May 2016 00:00:00 +0000

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia – The establishment of the Tun Mustapha Park in Malaysia, formally gazetted last week, marks a milestone in global marine conservation. Following more than a decade of dedicated efforts by government authorities and civil society, the creation of Malaysia's largest marine park is an important step forward in protecting valuable coastal marine resources and promoting sustainable development. Situated in an area of the western Pacific Ocean known as the Coral Triangle, the new park will help protect almost 1 million hectares of coral reef, mangrove, seagrass and productive fishing grounds including more than 50 islands. The establishment of the park will facilitate the implementation of targeted conservation measures to benefit both the environment and local communities living in one of the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystems."After such a long effort, it is great to have achieved landmark protection for this rich home of marine biodiversity," said Dato' Dr Dionysius Sharma, CEO of WWF-Malaysia. "The Tun Mustapha Park is a global symbol of how we can collectively commit to serving nature and humanity."Tun Mustapha Park boasts more than 250 species of hard corals, around 360 species of fish, endangered green turtles and dugongs as well as significant primary rainforest, mangroves, and seagrass beds, supporting the food security and livelihoods of thousands of people. However, overfishing, destructive fishing and pollution have threatened its unique ecosystem in recent years, highlighting the need for sustainable management.The park's gazettement, which comes after more than 13 years of work led by Malaysia's Sabah Parks with government agencies, local communities, international partners, and support from non-governmental organisations including WWF-Malaysia, will pave the way for intensified efforts to address the pressures on the area's fragile resources."The establishment of Tun Mustapha Park will boost the conservation and biodiversity of this uniquely rich natural environment," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. "This will also help ensure the sustainable management of the significant marine resources in the area that support jobs, livelihoods and food security. The park's gazettement should act as a model and an inspiration for marine conservation in the Coral Triangle and worldwide".The park heralds a new approach to nature management in places like Sabah. It will allow for sustainable uses, especially ensuring local communities living in the protected area can continue their activities within designated zones. This is critical as the area's productive fishing grounds support more than 80,000 people in coastal and island communities, generating around 100 tonnes of fish catch each day."WWF is extremely excited by the declaration of Tun Mustapha Park. We congratulate the Sabah State Government, the Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, and Sabah Parks for taking the bold steps required toward the gazettement of the park, thus forging the way for innovative marine protected area management in Sabah and Malaysia," added Sharma.WWF-Malaysia will continue to work with the Sabah State Government in the coming years to operationalize the park. WWF will provide technical support to Sabah Parks and collaborate with other agencies, the private sector, local communities and other non-governmental organisations to implement a solid management plan to ensure the sustainable use of resources.The Tun Mustapha Park is testament to Malaysia's commitment to the Coral Triangle Initiative and its contribution toward increasing the global percentage of marine protected areas. Recognizing its global significance in boosting the conservation of this biodiversity hotspot, WWF awarded the Sabah State Government the Leaders for a Living Planet award in April 2015.[...]


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WWF calls on World Trade Organization to address harmful fisheries subsidies

2015-12-17Thu, 17 Dec 2015 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Nairobi, Kenya – Twenty-seven members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a statement today committing to reinvigorate work in the WTO aimed at achieving ambitious and effective disciplines in fisheries subsidies. WWF and Oceana welcomed their statement and issued this reaction.
 
The ocean is a major contributor to the global economy and billions of people depend on fish for their food security. However, many fisheries are already stretched past sustainable limits and subsidies that contribute to depleting fish stocks are simply unacceptable.
 
Many organizations, including WWF and Oceana have worked for many years to end subsidies that drive overcapacity and hinder sustainable marine management. But experts estimate that fishing subsidies of US$15-35 billion are still used each year in the fisheries sector (up to about a third of the total value of global fisheries) in spite of their negative impacts on resource sustainability.
 
There is a clear and compelling opportunity for the WTO to improve trade rules to address harmful fisheries subsidies – and help stop and reverse global overfishing. Building on discussions within the WTO dating back to 1998, and on the mandates issued by ministers at the Doha and Hong Kong Ministerial Conferences, as well as the recent UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, governments have the chance to take leadership to reform fisheries subsidies here and now.
 
We have no time to waste if we want to put the world's fisheries back on a path to environmental and economic health. Given the scale of the sector, healthy and abundant fisheries are critical to food security and livelihoods worldwide – and WTO action on fisheries subsidies is an essential part of the solution. Reforming fisheries subsidies is one of the most obvious of many examples where international trade and 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda coincide. The WTO has a historic opportunity to show the world that it can make a meaningful contribution to solving problems of global consequence and thus clearly align with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted this year. 

John M. Tanzer
Director, WWF Global Marine Programme
 
Eric Bilsky
Assistant General Counsel, Oceana


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Victory for consumers in WWF's battle to defend MSC ecolabel

2015-09-23Wed, 23 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0000

Gland, Switzerland - The Echebastar Indian Ocean tuna fishery will not be certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. Following an objection from WWF and an independent adjudication, the Independent Adjudicator has made his final ruling on the case, reiterating his initial finding that the scoring by the certifier could not be justified and requiring that the earlier recommendation for certification be withdrawn. This landmark decision highlights that current management of tuna in the Indian Ocean does not meet the MSC's sustainability requirements. The MSC, beset for a number of years by poor certifier performance and the misapplication of its sustainability standard will benefit from the decision, which brings a new clarity to the standard. But the real victors are the consumers who rely on the eco-label to assure them that their purchases are from genuinely sustainable fisheries. "As a founder and public supporter of the MSC, WWF could not permit the credibility of the eco-label to be undermined by such a systematic misapplication of the certification requirements. Any process that results in a fishery that cannot control exploitation of its stocks being certified as sustainable simply can't be supported by WWF and we needed to take action," said Dr Wetjens Dimmlich, WWF's Indian Ocean Tuna Programme Manager. Almost four years of global effort to rein in certifiers who were failing to correctly apply MSC requirements was concluded when WWF was forced to lodge a formal Notice of Objection to the decision reached by certifier Acoura Marine, with the objective of preventing the certification of the Echebastar purse seine tuna fishery to the MSC standard. WWF's main concern centred on the absence of any effective management controls or tools to limit or otherwise manage the exploitation of tuna. These are a key requirement of the MSC standard for sustainable fishing and must occur across all tuna species under the RFMO management. Although the MSC policy and standard are clear and unequivocal on this point, there has been repeated and contagious misapplication in many tuna assessments, as demonstrated in this case by Acoura Marine. Dr Dimmlich commented: "The situation in the Indian Ocean is absolutely clear with regards to control of tuna stocks; fisheries managers are currently unable to limit or in any way influence the exploitation of overfished stocks and, although work is underway to address this, there is still some way to go before the necessary management tools will be available to them. The attempt by Acoura to claim otherwise was astonishing to many who work in this region and inevitably couldn't withstand scrutiny. WWF will now work closely with tuna fisheries seeking MSC certification to ensure that management in the Indian Ocean is improved to meet MSC requirements." The Independent Adjudicator agreed, upholding WWF's objection and calling for the spurious certification recommendation be withdrawn. He declared that Acoura Marine had failed to establish that the required management tools were either in place or even otherwise available to managers, concluding that this flaw was "fundamental, irremediable and fatal" and that certification of the fishery was therefore not warranted. Importantly, he also noted that previous incorrect application of the MSC requirements for other tuna fisheries could not be accepted as a precedent to perpetuate error, commenting that "the notion that, because a CAB may have proceeded in error in the past, the error must be carried forward into the future would scarcely be a very uplifting mantra for the MSC." WWF welcomes the corrective decision made in overturning the recommendation for MSC certification of the Echebastar Indian Ocean tuna fishery, but questions a system that required years of costly effort and intervention to reach such a straightforward and obvious conclusion. Daniel Sud[...]


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Failing fisheries and poor ocean health starving human food supply – tide must turn

2015-09-16Wed, 16 Sep 2015 00:00:00 +0000

GLAND, Switzerland – Populations of fish critical to human food security are in serious decline worldwide with some at risk of collapse according to the emergency edition of a WWF report released today. WWF's Living Blue Planet Report finds that much of the activity threatening the ocean is avoidable and solutions do exist to turn the tide. The updated study of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish shows that populations have been reduced on average by half globally in the last four decades, with some fish declining by close to 75 percent. The latest findings spell trouble for all nations, especially people in the developing world. To reverse the downward trend, global leaders must ensure that ocean recovery and coastal habitat health feature strongly in the implementation of the UN's sustainable development goals that will be formally approved later this month. Negotiations on a new global climate deal are also an important opportunity to forge agreement in support of ocean health. "We urgently published this report to provide the most current picture of the state of the ocean," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. "In the space of a single generation, human activity has severely damaged the ocean by catching fish faster than they can reproduce while also destroying their nurseries.  Profound changes are needed to ensure abundant ocean life for future generations." Research in the WWF report indicates that species essential to commercial and subsistence fishing  – and therefore global food supply – may be suffering the greatest declines. Underscoring the severe drop in commercial fish stocks, the report details the dramatic loss of 74 per cent of the family of popular food fish that includes tunas, mackerels and bonitos. "We are in a race to catch fish that could end with people starved of a vital food source and an essential economic engine. Overfishing, destruction of marine habitats and climate change have dire consequences for the entire human population, with the poorest communities that rely on the sea getting hit fastest and hardest. The collapse of ocean ecosystems could trigger serious economic decline – and undermine our fight to eradicate poverty and malnutrition," said Lambertini. The report shows a decline of 49 per cent of marine populations between 1970 and 2012. The analysis tracked 5,829 populations of 1,234 species, making the data sets almost twice as large as past studies and giving a clearer, more troubling picture of ocean health.The findings are based on the Living Planet Index, a database maintained and analyzed by researchers at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). In response to alarming statistics raised in WWF's Living Planet Report 2014, this special report studies how overfishing, damage to habitat and climate change are affecting marine biodiversity. Adding to the crisis of falling fish populations, the report shows steep declines in coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses that support fish species and provide valuable services to people. Over one-third of fish tracked by the report rely on coral reefs, and these species show a dangerous decline of 34 per cent between 1979 and 2010. Research shows that coral reefs could be lost across the globe by 2050 as a result of climate change. With over 25 per cent of all marine species living in coral reefs and about 850 million people directly benefiting from their economic, social and cultural services, the loss of coral reefs would be a catastrophic extinction with dramatic consequences on communities. "The ocean is an integral part of our lives. We are kept alive by the clean air, food and other services it provides. More than that, we are simply drawn to the ocean and its wildlife, whether a trip to the seaside or an encounter with the penguins at the ZSL London Zoo. This repor[...]


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Eastern Pacific fisheries commission needs plans for Bluefin recovery and reduced fishing capacity

2015-06-24Wed, 24 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0000

Guayaquil, Ecuador: Members of the fisheries commission for the eastern Pacific assembling in Guayaquil, Ecuador need to prioritise initiating a rigorous recovery plan to address the collapse of Pacific Bluefin Tuna stocks and stabilising overall tuna fishing capacity that currently exceeds the optimal scientifically recommended level by at least 50%. "Tuna management in the Pacific is currently totally inadequate to preserve the Pacific Bluefin tuna stock. Only a significant reduction of catches and stringent measures to protect juveniles can ensure long-term sustainability of this fishery," said Pablo Guerrero, WWF's Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna coordinator. The stock is now critically low, having dropped 96% according to the International Scientific Committee (ISC) for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean and scientists of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). The 21 country and European Union members of the IATTC took initial steps to protect Pacific Bluefin in October 2014  in largely accepting scientific advice to almost halve fishing quotas for this prized but beleaguered fish. The IATTC further agreed that no country can exceed 3500 tons of catches in 2015 and that the fishing nations must establish a catch documentation system. WWF strongly supports catch limits but demands closer monitoring of this fishery, especially of the catch numbers, to ensure that quotas are being respected. The completion of a revised stock assessment for this species is also necessary. The real need is for the IATTC and sister body Western Central Pacific Tuna Commission (WCPFC) to adopt a rigorous, long-term Pacific-wide recovery plan for Pacific Bluefin Tuna with robust harvest control rules3 and firm limit and reference points2 . Mechanisms for an adequate and adequately rapid response if Bluefin populations approach the limits are also strongly needed.  Japan, Mexico, the United States and South Korea are the major countries fishing Pacific Bluefin, while the main market is Japan. WWF is also very concerned about tuna fishing over-capacity in the Eastern Pacific, which is becoming apparent through declining yellowfin and bigeye tuna stocks. Purse seine fleet captures about 90% of the tuna in the Eastern Pacific. The active purse-seine capacity registered in 2015 was 272,076 cubic meters, which greatly exceeds the capacity target level of 158,000 cubic meters of total volume recommended by scientists in 2002. "We urge the IATTC to freeze the current capacity of the fishing fleet and work toward reducing the number of vessels authorized to fish for tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean. This will also be in the best interest of the industry because it will address the problem of securing the future of tuna fisheries in the region." said Pablo Guerrero. IATTC scientists remain uncertain about the status of bigeye and yellowfin tuna due to current levels of fishing mortality exacerbated by the rising trend in the number of sets on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), and also due to a possible increase in fishing operations in the EPO. WWF urges the IATTC to monitor this situation closely and be prepared to implement stronger measures to conserve the stocks. WWF is also urging IATTC to adopt conservation measures to limit fishing mortality of silky sharks in order to rebuild the stock of these sharks in the region, and also to totally prohibit the removal of fins at sea, requiring instead that sharks be landed with their fins naturally attached. IATTC members also should adopt the scientific recommendations on best practices for handling manta rays aboard purse seiners. Other measures WWF is calling for include the provision of additional data on movement of FADs and the implementation of the use of FADs without any entangling material deployed beneath them in order [...]


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Funds are needed for marine protected areas

2015-06-09Tue, 09 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0000

The full text of this letter was lead item on The Times letters page on 8 June.We live in a world with a growing population with increasing demands. Yet we are unsustainably exhausting our seas. The ocean economy, the "blue" economy, can only meet our increasing demand if we restore the ocean and manage it better for the goods and services it provides.Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been shown to act like a bank account and an insurance policy for maintaining ocean resilience and productivity, securing a return on investment and economic stability. The big challenge for successful MPAs is financing their implementation. A study published in PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science) in 2013 showed that the benefits of expanding MPAs outweigh the costs within as little as five years.Another study by environmental economists in 2015 calculated that expanding MPAs to cover 30 per cent of the ocean could increase their economic benefits to a total of $490-920 billion to 2050. A new study of the Sargasso Sea confirms that the benefits of the ecosystem services extend far past its boundaries, in the form of tourism for whale-watching in North America and spawning for eel fisheries in Europe.Governments, business and community leaders can help to identify financial mechanisms, not only for local or national waters, but also for international seas. We already have diver, snorkeller and surfing charges in Bonaire in the Antilles, tourism fees in Galapagos and the Great Barrier Reef, airport exit fees and cruise ship fees in Belize.We need to create trust funds for marine protected areas in perpetuity — the MAR fund is an example already working for the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef; the Phoenix Islands has its own conservation trust; an endowment fund is being developed for the Bird's Head Seascape in West Papua. We also need to look beyond existing structures and think of an ocean sustainability bank. There are development banks around the world but no bank for 70 per cent of the planet's surface.We urge governments, business and communities today, World Oceans Day, to collaborate with us to secure this blue life-support system. Together, we can invest in the ocean economy and develop the financing solutions required to create successful marine protected areas around the planet.Signed,Pieter Stemerding, managing director, Adessium Foundation; Charles Clover, Chairman, Blue Marine Foundation; Alasdair Harris, executive director, Blue Ventures; Greg Stone, executive vice president and chief scientist, Conservation International; David Obura, director, CORDIO East Africa; Tundi Agardy, director MARES programme, Forest Trends; Torsten Thiele, founder, Global Ocean Trust; Peggy Kalas, co-ordinator, High Seas Alliance; Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of the global marine and polar programme, IUCN; Dan Laffoley, marine chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas; Kristina Gjerde, senior high seas adviser, IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme; Lance Morgan, president and CEO, Marine Conservation Institute; Jorge Jiménez, director general, Marviva; Lasse Gustavsson, executive director, Europe, Oceana; Dominique Duval-Diop, secretary general, RAMPAO; David Freestone, executive secretary, Sargasso Sea Commission; Sylvia Earle, founder and chairman, SEAlliance & Mission Blue; Mark Spalding, global marine team, The Nature Conservancy; John Tanzer, director global marine programme, WWF[...]


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Increased protection would provide big boost to the ocean economy

2015-06-03Wed, 03 Jun 2015 00:00:00 +0000

GLAND, Switzerland  –  Expanding ocean protection could return an increase in jobs, resources and services that far outweigh the costs, according to an analysis of new research commissioned by WWF on marine protected areas. The analysis comes months before governments make critical decisions that will direct the fate of the ocean for generations to come. The analysis shows that every dollar invested to create marine protected areas – commonly known as MPAs – is expected to be at least tripled in benefits returned through factors like employment, coastal protection, and fisheries. "The ocean is central to all of our lives and we need to be both its stewards and its managers. A healthy ocean safeguards our coasts, stores carbon, creates employment and feeds families," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. "Marine protected areas can have the double impact of contributing to a healthy ocean and creating important economic opportunities." Current international targets for ocean protection range from 10 per cent by 2020 through 30 per cent protection by 2030. At present, less than 4 per cent of the ocean is designated for protection, with many MPAs lacking effective implementation and management.  Among the major threats facing the ocean are overfishing, pollution, sedimentation, and habitat destruction. Warming seas and increased acidification caused by climate change are expected to have devastating impacts on coral reefs and other important ocean systems. "We cannot continue to overstrain and underinvest in the ocean," said Lambertini. "The ocean is collapsing before our eyes, but the good news is that we have the tools to fix it. It is possible for the ocean to make strong contributions to lives and livelihoods while we also secure its habitats and biodiversity for future generations." When properly designed and managed, ecologically coherent networks of MPAs form safe havens for marine life. The areas protect and restore habitats and species resulting in a more resilient ocean better prepared to withstand the assault of climate change. When implemented in unison with sustainable fisheries management regimes and measures to minimise pollution, MPAs provide a solid basis for healthy marine ecosystems both locally and regionally. The new analysis is based on a WWF-commissioned study produced by Amsterdam's VU University, modelling MPA expansion at both the 10 per cent and 30 per cent target levels. The report found that increased protection of critical habitats could result in net benefits of between US$490 billion and US$920 billion accruing over the period 2015-2050. WWF recommends 30 per cent global coverage of MPAs by 2030 in order to secure the most complete benefits for people and the ocean. Existing protected areas in regions like the Mediterranean, the Coral Triangle and coastal Africa, demonstrate how people can benefit from increased ocean protection. Locally managed marine areas in Fiji demonstrate that MPAs can reduce poverty, strengthen governance and benefit human health and gender equality. "Real-world examples prove that marine protected areas work; solid economic analysis shows that they are well worth it. Increasing investment in protected areas is a wise choice for communities, governments, businesses and financial institutions interested in the bottom-line and securing a sustainable blue economy," said Lambertini. This year is particularly important for the ocean. In September, governments will meet to agree on a set of goals as part of the UN post-2015 sustainable development agenda. WWF's analysis recommends that the agreement include strong targets and indicators for the ocean, and commitments to coherent policy, financing, trade and technology frameworks[...]


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Prestigious award to Malaysia for plans to protect one million hectares of ocean

2015-04-29Wed, 29 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0000

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: Global conservation organisation WWF presented its prestigious Leaders for a Living Planet Award to the state government of Sabah in recognition of its effort to create the largest marine park in Malaysia. The award was presented today to Sabah's Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman. The proposed Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) represents almost one million hectares of marine protected area off the north coast of Sabah, Malaysia. The park will encompass 50 islands and will protect one of the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystems.WWF has launched a major global effort to emphasize the value of coastal marine resources to hundreds of millions of people around the world and to strengthen marine conservation. As part of this initiative, WWF pledged full support to the state government of Sabah for the designation of the park and to help secure the funding required to ensure its effective management once created."The gazettement of Tun Mustapha Park is a globally significant action that will boost the conservation and biodiversity of this uniquely rich natural environment. It will also do much to ensure the sustainable management of the significant marine resources in the area, for the long-term benefit of the more than 80,000 people living on the coast and islands in the proposed park," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.Fishing is a key economic driver of this northern coastal area of Sabah, with approximately 100 tonnes of fish – valued at US$200,000 – caught each day.The planned park holds four species of sea turtles, 550 fish species, 252 hard coral species, and 243 invertebrate species with new species being discovered continuously. Migratory marine mammals such as dolphins and whales also feed in the area."Effective management of the Tun Mustapha Park will help ensure the viability of the area's fisheries resources – and high quality ecotourism can provide hugely increased value, based on this natural treasure. The gazettement of this park should act as a model and an inspiration for marine conservation worldwide," said Marco Lambertini. Marco Lambertini also paid tribute to Dato' Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin, Chairman of Sabah Parks, for the outstanding contribution his organisation has made in the long journey toward TMP's gazettement. WWF's Leaders for a Living Planet Award acknowledges the long-standing commitment of the Sabah state government to create the proposed Tun Mustapha Park. The award recognises the role the government's lead agency, Sabah Parks, has played in advancing this issue and encourages the state government to designate the park as planned by the end of 2015."The announcement of the Sabah Government's intention to gazette the TMP to create Malaysia's largest marine park has not only national significance, but regional and global importance too as a significant marine area in the Coral Triangle – an area gravely threatened by overfishing and pollution," said  Dato' Dr Dionysius Sharma, Executive Director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia. Dionysius Sharma paid tribute to the foresight of the Sabah Government led by the Chief Minister in declaring its intention to gazette the TMP. WWF-Malaysia has been supporting the gazettement process and working with state government agencies and partners since 2003 through implementation of a number of strategies to support the establishment of the TMP, including community consultations, demonstrating benefits of marine protected areas, alternative livelihood programmes, and education and public awareness.[...]


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Ocean wealth valued at US$24 trillion, but sinking fast

2015-04-23Thu, 23 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0000

The value of the ocean's riches rivals the size of the world's leading economies, but its resources are rapidly eroding, according to a report released by WWF today. The report, Reviving the Ocean Economy: The case for action - 2015, analyses the ocean's role as an economic powerhouse and outlines the threats that are moving it toward collapse. The value of key ocean assets is conservatively estimated in the report to be at least US$24 trillion. If compared to the world's top 10 economies, the ocean would rank seventh with an annual value of goods and services of US$2.5 trillion. The report, produced in association with The Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), is the most focused review yet of the ocean's asset base. Reviving the Ocean Economy reveals the sea's enormous wealth through assessments of goods and services ranging from fisheries to coastal storm protection, but the report also describes an unrelenting assault on ocean resources through over-exploitation, misuse and climate change. "The ocean rivals the wealth of the world's richest countries, but it is being allowed to sink to the depths of a failed economy," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. "As responsible shareholders, we cannot seriously expect to keep recklessly extracting the ocean's valuable assets without investing in its future."      According to the report, more than two-thirds of the annual value of the ocean relies on healthy conditions to maintain its annual economic output. Collapsing fisheries, mangrove deforestation as well as disappearing corals and seagrass are threatening the marine economic engine that secures lives and livelihoods around the world. "Being able to quantify both the annual and asset value of the world's oceans shows us what's at stake in hard numbers; economically and environmentally. We hope this serves as a call for business leaders and policymakers to make wiser, more calculated decisions when it comes to shaping the future of our collective ocean economy," said Douglas Beal, Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group. Research presented in the report demonstrates that the ocean is changing more rapidly than at any other point in millions of years. At the same time, growth in human population and reliance on the sea makes restoring the ocean economy and its core assets a matter of global urgency. "The ocean is at greater risk now than at any other time in recorded history. We are pulling out too many fish, dumping in too many pollutants, and warming and acidifying the ocean to a point that essential natural systems will simply stop functioning," said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, the report's lead author and Director of the Global Change Institute in Australia's University of Queensland.Climate change is a leading cause of the ocean's failing health. Research included in the report shows that at the current rate of warming, coral reefs that provide food, jobs and storm protection to several hundred million people will disappear completely by 2050. More than just warming waters, climate change is inducing increased ocean acidity that will take hundreds of human generations for the ocean to repair. Over-exploitation is another major cause for the ocean's decline, with 90 per cent of global fish stocks either over-exploited or fully exploited. The Pacific bluefin tuna population alone has dropped by 96 per cent from unfished levels. It is not too late to reverse the troubling trends and ensure a healthy ocean that benefits people, business and nature. Reviving the Ocean Economy presents an eight-point action plan that would restore ocean resources to their full poten[...]


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Tribunal throws lifeline to coastal states facing foreign vessel threats to fisheries

2015-04-02Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Gland, Switzerland: Countries facing depletion of their fisheries by foreign vessels have been thrown a lifeline, with an international tribunal ruling that countries can be held liable for not taking necessary measures to prevent illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing operations by their vessels in the waters of other countries.

The ruling is included in an advisory opinion issued today by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS)on the application of the West African Sub Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) – comprised of Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

            "No longer will we have to try to combat illegal fishing on a boat by boat basis"

WWF, which has long sought clearer definition of flag state obligations for vessels, supported the action and filed two amicus curiae (friend of the tribunal) briefs during the deliberations. 
 
"This is a very welcome ruling that could be a real game changer," said WWF International Marine Programme Director John Tanzer. "No longer will we have to try to combat illegal fishing and the ransacking of coastal fisheries globally on a boat by boat basis." 

The advisory opinion stated that countries have a duty of due diligence to ensure that their fishing vessels do not engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the waters of other countries and can be held liable for breach of this duty.
 
The advisory also holds that the European Union can have the same due diligence duty as a flag state, when they are the party to fisheries access agreements with other states.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in coastal waters costs the world between US$10-20 billion annually, undermines fisheries management and robs coastal communities of food and livelihoods.
 
West African waters are believed to have the highest levels of IUU fishing in the world, representing up to 37 per cent of the region's catch. 

The due diligence obligation means that flag states will have to take enforcement actions to ensure their vessels comply with the laws of SRFC member states and take measures necessary to ensure that their vessels comply with protection and preservation measures adopted by the SRFC member states.

The tribunal also strengthened the obligations of neighbouring coastal states to each other, stating that "The conservation and development of shared stocks in the exclusive economic zone of an SRFC member state require from that state effective measures aimed at preventing over-exploitation of such stocks that could undermine their sustainable exploitation and the interests of neighbouring member states."
 
WWF will hold a workshop in Dakar, Senegal, in June to explore what the rulings can offer to coastal states in protecting fisheries and livelihoods. 

Further information:  Itlos.org , see Case 21

Jessica Battle, Marine Manager, WWF International  jbattle@wwfint.org  +41 79 477 3559


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Reef 2050 plan a good start - but much more investment needed

2015-03-21Sat, 21 Mar 2015 00:00:00 +0000

(image)  
Sydney, Australia – WWF-Australia said the final Reef 2050 plan released today includes a number of good initiatives but the $100 million in new funding announced by the federal government falls short of what's required to halt the Reef's decline and remove the threat that it is listed 'World Heritage in danger'.

The joint Australian/Queensland Government blueprint is the key factor to be considered by the World Heritage Committee when it decides this June whether to list the Reef.

"It's a positive sign to see the new Queensland Government's Reef election commitments have been added to the plan including the intention to ban the dumping of dredge spoil in the World Heritage Area," said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O'Gorman.

"Whilst we welcome the Federal Government's ban on dumping in the marine park we repeat our call for a federal ban to cover the entire World Heritage Area because that would provide the strongest level of protection.

"It's critical that we see a ban implemented before the World Heritage Committee meets in three months' time," he said.

"We welcome that the Queensland and Federal Government are committed to achieving an 80% reduction in nitrogen run-off by 2025 and will both inject an additional $100 million over five years to tackle pollution.

"But considering the Reef will generate $30 billion for the economy over the next five years, a much more substantial investment from the Federal Government is not unreasonable.

"Billions not millions are needed to save the Reef.

"The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority must also be given the legal powers and resources it needs to become a champion for the Reef.

"The long-term survival of the Great Barrier Reef depends on the world acting together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including stronger action from Australia.

"When it comes to the Reef the existing level of spending is simply not working. The Federal Government's own Outlook Report says the Reef is in poor shape and getting worse," Mr O'Gorman said.

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CONTACT
 
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Australia: Mark Symons, msymons@wwf.org.au , +61 400 985 571


 
ABOUT WWF
 
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
 

Visit panda.org/reef for additional resources and follow us @WWF_media.
 


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Fisheries commission acts on Pacific Bluefin tuna, ignores the plight of other collapsing stocks

2014-12-08Mon, 08 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0000

 Apia, Samoa: The 38 member Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) has once again taken minimal action to sustain the collapsing fish stocks in its care, with only the virtually collapsed Pacific Bluefin Tuna benefitting from management measures in line with scientific recommendations. But even these measures to protect the stock – down to just four per cent of historic levels and dependent on a miniscule breeding stock – may not save the Bluefin as the WCPFC continues to fail to adopt adequate measures to protect Bluefin and other stocks under its charge. "it shouldn't have required the near collapse of the stock before they took action""It's great that the Commission adopted measures for the conservation of the Pacific Bluefin tuna based on the scientific recommendation, but it shouldn't have required the near collapse of the stock before they took action", said Bubba Cook, WWF´s Western Central Pacific Tuna Programme Manager.   "All of the ecologically important and economically lucrative tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific are in decline." While catches of Pacific Bluefin tuna have been pegged to half those of 2002-2004 levels for juveniles under 30 kg and held to 2002-2004 levels for larger fish, the commission was unable to agree a long-term recovery plan.  WWF believes the target for a 10-year plan should be to return stocks to 20 percent of previous levels. Meanwhile,  there was no change to clearly inadequate management measures for bigeye tuna, heavily over-exploited and now down to only 16 percent of historic populations.     "By ignoring the need for meaningful action on bigeye tuna, the Commission appears to have simply abdicated its responsibility to conserve and manage tuna in the region." said Cook. Many industry representatives were not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting: "Disappointment' is an understatement.  I feel that the WCPFC is failing as a process", said Tima Tupou of the Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA). At this year's meeting, the Pacific Island nations also took a serious blow when some Commission members rejected a proposal to secure the future of the South Pacific albacore tuna stock.  Hundreds of subsidised vessels from Asia are devastating the albacore stock, which is driving the biological health of the stock down while undermining the economies of many of the Pacific Islands that are heavily dependent on the albacore fishery as well. "Every year the Pacific Island nations engage in difficult negotiations in good faith and try to achieve agreement so that we can protect the resource that sustains our island communities." said Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority Director Glen Joseph. "Unfortunately, people agree verbally to what Pacific Island nations are asking, but in the end seem to vote against them." Even very simple proposals such as one introduced by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) 3 to implement a conservative Target Reference Point in the skipjack tuna fishery, constituting one of the most basic and fundamental management measures for fisheries management, failed to reach agreement.  "It doesn't inspire much confidence in the process when even relatively simple, sensible decisions become a struggle." said Cook.Notes: The annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) was held in Apia, Samoa, from December 1-5.The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) are eight Pacific Island countries that control the world's largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery supplying 50 percent of the w[...]


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Celebrating parks, the planet and people

2014-11-19Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000

Sydney – 19 November 2014 – A once-per-decade meeting on the state of the world's protected natural areas ended today with a collective promise to invigorate efforts, inspire new stakeholders, and invest in marine and terrestrial parks. WWF's conservation experts joined other International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) member governments and organizations, as well as private sector representatives, at the World Parks Congress to discuss protection and management of fragile habitats and ecosystems, many of which are critical to human survival."Across the world, millions of people rely on the services provided by the healthy ecosystems in protected areas for their food security, water supply, fresh air, climate stability and employment opportunities. Protected areas are a powerful tool to secure a healthy, diverse and productive environment, which is the foundation to any credible long-term sustainable development agenda," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. "We are placing biodiversity and natural resources at the heart of our new national development plan," Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina said during a WWF even in Sydney last night. "It is possible to effectively tackle poverty while preserving and sustainably using one's natural capital. Our natural capital is one of our greatest assets: biodiversity, and the protected areas, are engines of our development." Since 2003, species-rich Madagascar has tripled the number of protected areas in the country by creating 95 new sites, and established a US$50 million conservation fund for their management. The president pledged to expand even further the country's marine protected area coverage, and to establish community management of coastal resources.  In total, commitments to 140 million hectares of protected areas were made at WWF's event, and over US$500 million in conservation funding for management of these parks was announced. Earlier in the conference, Malaysia, part of the Coral Triangle Initiative, committed to gazette close to a million hectares of ocean in the state of Sabah by 2015. Over 80,000 coastal and island residents of Sabah rely on fishing for their livelihoods. Included in the state's plans is gazettement of Tun Mustapha Park, an important marine area that needs protection from overfishing, destructive fishing practices and pollution. Fiji announced plans to increase its number of locally managed marine areas so that communities can make decisions about how best to maximize the benefits provided by their natural resources. Fiji also intends to protect nearly a third of its coastal waters, and Gabon nearly a quarter. Marine protected areas can guard stocks from collapse by giving fish a place to grow, as well as by preventing unsustainable take levels and habitat degradation. In a landmark terrestrial announcement, the government of Peru joined WWF and other partners to form a new alliance aimed at securing long-term funding for the country's 76 Amazon protected areas, and at ensuring the inclusion of indigenous communities in natural area management. Additionally on land, Bhutan said that it has doubled its protected area cover to over 50 per cent, the highest in the world. Bhutan also announced the launch of a US$50 million conservation fund, which is modelled on the Brazilian Amazon ARPA for Life fund. Neighbouring China said has accelerated the roll out of new nature reserves, including the habitats of endangered pandas and tigers.Globally, protected areas play an essential role in reducing the carbon in the atmosphere, yet they are at risk increasingl[...]


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Historic advances in international shark and ray conservation

2014-11-10Mon, 10 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Quito, Ecuador: Twenty-one species of shark and ray have received increased international protection, adding to recent victories for marine conservation.

The sharks and rays were listed for protection under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). Member countries agreed to grant strict protection to the reef manta, nine varieties of devil ray, and five types of sawfish. States also committed to work internationally to conserve all three species of thresher shark, two types of hammerhead shark, and the silky shark.

"Manta and devil rays are exceptionally vulnerable to overexploitation, usually having just one pup every few years," explained WWF's Ian Campbell, who served on the delegation of Fiji. "The Appendix I listing obligates CMS parties to ban fishing for reef manta and all devil ray species, and reflects a responsible, precautionary approach in light of their inherent susceptibility to depletion."

The move comes just two months after regulations on seven threatened species of shark and ray were introduced under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Commercial international trade in sawfish is banned under CITES, while trade in manta rays is regulated to ensure it is sustainable.

Six types of shark were added to Appendix II of CMS encouraging international cooperation towards conservation of shared species. The ray and sawfish were listed under both Appendix II and Appendix I committing countries to strict protections. The listings enhance the chances for recovery and sustainable use.

The Convention lists migratory species threatened with extinction in its Appendix I meaning member parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration, and controlling other factors that might endanger them. 

The CMS Parties also agreed a resolution encouraging improved data collection and fisheries management for shark and ray.

The CMS brings together the 120 countries through which migratory animals pass, and aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is the only global intergovernmental convention established exclusively for the conservation and management of migratory species.

Fact sheets on the newly listed species and what how the listings might help them can be found here.


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India gets its first MSC certified fishery

2014-11-05Wed, 05 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Kochi/New Delhi: Sustainable fisheries in the developing world have taken a significant step forward today with the certification of India's first clam fishery in Kerala, southern India.
 
The Ashtamudi short neck clam fishery is only the third fishery in Asia to have received this recognition.
 
"WWF-India initiated the MSC Certification of the Ashtamudi short-neck clam fishery in 2010 recognising the possibility of bringing in global sustainability standards for the benefit of conservation and local livelihoods. We are very pleased to see the culmination of these efforts with the recognition of India's first MSC certified fishery" said Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India.
 
The clam fishery in Ashtamudi dates back to 1981 and supports the livelihoods of around 3000 fishers involved in collection, cleaning, processing and trading the clams. Ashtamudi Lake is a Ramsar wetland of international importance and has extensive mangrove habitats harboring nearly 90 species of fish and 10 species of clams.
 
The growth of Ashtamudi's commercial fishery was driven by demand in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s. By 1991, the catch peaked at 10,000 tonnes a year, but declined 50% in 1993 due to overfishing.
 
A closed season and mesh size restrictions for nets were introduced, along with a minimum export size and a prohibition on mechanical clam fishing. These measures showed immediate effects, and the clam fishery has sustained landings of around 10,000 tonnes a year for the past decade.
 
"We are extremely pleased to see this small-scale fishery become the first in India to be certified to the MSC's global standard for sustainable fishing. It will be an important addition to the growing number of developing world fisheries that are demonstrating their sustainability through the MSC's certification program," said David Agnew, MSC Standards Director.

MSC certification will mean the implementation of measures to ensure that this valuable resource is not overfished and its ecosystem is protected. It also opens up the scope for other fisheries in India to work towards MSC certification that will enhance conservation and sustainability of the resource while providing greater economic returns.
 
The MSC certification was a joint effort by WWF, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the Kerala State Fisheries Department and the local fishing community. The certification demonstrates the power of collaboration between partners and the importance of grass-roots activism of fishers to protect the environment and their livelihoods.


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Nations agree to slash Eastern Pacific catch of bluefin tuna

2014-11-05Wed, 05 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Countries fishing the Eastern Pacific Ocean for bluefin tuna have largely accepted scientific advice in almost halving fishing quotas for the prized but beleaguered fish.
 
The decision, taken yesterday at a reconvened special meeting of the  Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), raises expectations that many of the same nations will also heed advice to dramatically cut Bluefin Tuna catch quotas elsewhere in the Pacific at a crucial meeting in December.
 
WWF has applauded the IATTC decision to establish a catch quota of 6600 tons of Pacific Bluefin tuna for commercial catches spread over the next two years 2015/2016 (approximately 3300 tons for each year or a 45 per cent reduction, compared to International Scientific Committee advice for a 50 per cent reduction to  2750 tons).
The IATTC also agreed that no country can exceed 3500 tons of catches in 2015 and that the fishing nations have to establish a catch documentation system.

"We are pleased that the important fishing nations Mexico, Japan and the United States made ​​an effort to follow the scientific advice of the Commission regarding the reduction of catch quota", said Pablo Guerrero, Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna Coordinator for WWF's Smart Fishing Initiative. "This decision is vital to the survival of the Pacific Bluefin Tuna, as is evidenced by the current catch being 90 per cent composed of young juveniles yet to breed and the breeding stock estimated to be down to just four per cent of original levels. "But little will be saved if countries do not also agree to similar cuts to Pacific Bluefin Tuna catches when the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meets in Samoa in December."

WWF will continue to urge IATTC to adopt a long-term Pacific Bluefin recovery plan, containing well defined harvest control rules and mandatory management responses to indicators that catches may be approaching recovery plan limits. 


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Mediterranean bluefin tuna stock improving but caution still needed, say scientists

2014-10-06Mon, 06 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000

(image) Madrid: WWF remains cautiously optimistic at the close of the International Committee for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) scientists' meeting to assess the health of bluefin tuna stocks in the East Atlantic and the Mediterranean. But WWF reiterates the ongoing need for tough rules and close monitoring to ensure the full recovery of the species population.

An update of the last Mediterranean bluefin tuna stock assessment was concluded on 3 October by ICCAT's scientific committee, in preparation for its annual special meeting taking place 10-17 November when fishing rules and catch limits will be reconsidered. Though results remain uncertain, the assessment indicates that management efforts developed in recent years have resulted in an increase in population size, including the possibility that the stock might soon recover to sustainable levels.

"In spite of the high uncertainties surrounding the assessment, one thing appears clear today: the Mediterranean bluefin tuna stock is no longer at risk of collapse, and this is a direct result of ICCAT's current fisheries recovery plan for the species," said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean. "Strong concerns remain, however, particularly regarding the traceability of the fish from ocean to plate – and WWF strongly urges continued caution.

A cornerstone of the current recovery plan is ICCAT's Bluefin Tuna Catch Document (BCD) which aims to ensure full traceability from catch to market, but better enforcement and more widespread checks are needed to ensure full implementation.

A recent WWF study concludes the current BCD system is plagued with shortcomings that compromise its ability to keep illegal bluefin products out of the market. The study also demonstrates that it does not meet the minimum standards required under European Union regulations to curb illegal fishing.

WWF's study includes more than 50 concrete proposals to close loopholes and turn the current BCD scheme into a real tool to ensure traceability of bluefin tuna products.

"To ensure a sustainable fishery, reliable data is essential – but adequate ways to fight Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing are also crucial," said Dr Gemma Quilez Badía, WWF's scientist attending the stock assessment and ICCAT scientific committee meeting in Madrid.

"Reforming ICCAT's Bluefin Tuna Catch Document is a task of the utmost urgency to eradicate the illegal practices that have been plaguing this fishery, by ensuring only legal fish enters the global markets and ensuring seafood consumers around the world can be sure they are eating sustainable bluefin tuna," said Quilez Badía.
 


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