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July 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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The big eye species of Tuna is on the verge of being over-fished while albacore and yellow fin species Tuna is still in abundance in the Fiji waters.

This was revealed in a statement by the Senior Trade Officer for the Department of Fisheries Joela Cama.

Fiji is working on a Tuna Management Plan to manage and conserve its tuna stock as some species are on the verge of being over fished.

“For the purposes of evaluation, ‘non-target’ tunas include all tuna and tuna-like species except Albacore. However, it should be noted that other species may be targeted in certain areas or times of the year.”

He added that ‘non-target’ tuna comprise nearly half the total Fiji tuna catch in weight, of which a large majority of that is yellow fin tuna.

Yellow fin comprises 34 per cent of all tuna caught in the Fiji long-line fishery, whereas big eye (11 per cent) and skipjack (2 per cent) are caught less frequently.          

A paper is being put together to present to Cabinet on recommendations for sustainable harvesting of tuna.

One of the key issues being discussed is the Annual License Cap which this is the number of license given every year for fishing vessels to harvest tuna in Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Cama said 70 Fiji flag fishing vessels which harvest tuna from our seas while another 97 has been approved by Government under the Western Central Pacific Commission which fishes in the high seas of the Pacific.

By Ropate Valemei

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