Western Pacific council’s science panel makes recommendations for bigeye

By Undercurrent News

The scientific and statistical committee (SSC) for the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC) has recommended that no catch limits be set for longliners pursuing bigeye tuna near the three US territories in Pacific Ocean -- American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands -- from 2020 until 2023. 

The panel also recommended that each of the territories be allowed to allocate up to 2,000 metric tons to federally permitted Hawaii longline vessels.

The SSC's recommendations came during a three-day meeting concluded in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Thursday, and preceded a meeting by the WPRFMC to be held in the same city, June 25-27, where bigeye tuna catch and allocation limits will be on the agenda.

Small, developing states in the Pacific don't have longline-caught bigeye quotas, the council explains on its website, but under an amendment to its pelagic fishery ecosystem plan, the US' National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has the authority to specify annual catch and allocation limits for the three US territories. In recent years, each US territory had a 2,000t limit and authority to allocate up to 1,000t.

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