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article imageSaving the western and central Pacific Ocean bigeye tuna

By Richard Smith     Nov 23, 2012 in Environment
Scientists at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, have suggested their research may have found a way forward to help the ill-fated bigeye tuna.
A study conducted by scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa in conjunction with researchers from other organizations have created a fish model study; results reflected that using coordinated zones in combination with regulations already in place, could drastically improve the quantities of the currently overfished bigeye tuna.
Scientists involved in this study believe that having a network of zones could become a much more beneficial conservation method, compared to closing small sections of the ocean to certain types of fishing that is currently employed. The study suggests that a new system of zones, where fishing activities differ form zone to zone, could have a widespread and significant impact on the bigeye tuna's dwindling numbers. It is currently reported the stock of bigeye tuna has hit a record low. Reports suggest even with new initiatives, a minimum of 15 years will be needed in order to reestablish the deteriorating numbers.
Professor Dr. John Sibert, of UH Mānoa Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research is one of four dedicated scientists running this project. He had the following to say concerning the completed model, and its uses.
“The model will help people evaluate alternative policies to manage tropical tuna fisheries. Our predictions can help countries estimate how effective conservation measures might be, relative to any economic effects, and tailor measures to suit their goals. The advantage of this approach is that effects can be estimated locally, as well as for the stock as a whole.”
The declining numbers of bigeye tuna could also be correlated to the bycatch of juveniles that are being caught in purse-seine nets from fishermen targeting skipjack tuna. In fact it is believed that half of the catch quota of bigeye tuna is made up by juvenile bycatch, which undoubtedly is taking a toll on their numbers.
Due to the current study and its results, Professor Dr. John Sibert has to suggest that a comprehensive assessment of the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) tuna fishery be complied, and advises that due to the hostile situation the bigeye tuna faces, that the measures taken to protect the species must be ones,
“Which protect fish throughout their lifetime.”
More about Fishing, tuna overfishing, Overfishing, bigeye tuna, Tuna
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