MSC warns that tuna fisheries in the WCPO will lose certification if the development of harvest strategies continues to stall

October 12, 2021

AuthorSara Pipernos
Program Associate International Fisheries ✉

Certified tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) could be suspended without urgent action by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). That warning was issued by The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in a July 2021 announcement. Industry stakeholders in the WCPO need the WCPFC to adopt precautionary, science-based harvest strategies to maintain their certifications and meet the MSC’s certifying standards. If these standards are not met by the agreed-upon deadline, 73% of all MSC certified tuna will no longer be able to tout the MSC’s “certified sustainable seafood” ecolabel.

The MSC requires that the WCPFC implement harvest strategies, pre-agreed management frameworks for making fisheries management decisions, for albacore, skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye tuna stocks by June 2023. The MSC has determined that harvest strategies are the most effective way to control and implement sustainable catch levels. At present moment, it does not appear that the WCPFC is on track on to meet this deadline. And, the WCPFC only has two chances left on its calendar to adopt measures: its annual meetings in December 2021 and 2022.

A unified voice calling on the WCPFC to accelerate the development of harvest strategies will be critical in allowing stakeholders to maintain their certifications and meet the MSC’s conditions. The MSC urges stakeholders to voice to the WCPFC that it must revisit its current harvest strategy workplan at the upcoming 2021 Commission meeting to help fast-track adoption for these tuna stocks in 2022. The holdup for adoption is not due to a lack of progress on the scientific work. In fact, the development of the management strategy evaluation (MSE), a tool that is to used simulate fisheries and test harvest strategies, is significantly advanced and will provide a basis for harvest strategy adoption by 2022. 

If industry stakeholders work in hand with their governments and the WCPFC, harvest strategies can be adopted by the close of the 2022 WCPFC Commission Meeting. The question is: will stakeholders and managers heed this warning?

TweetsOur latest tweets

What will happen if the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission does not adopt #harveststrategies?

Fisheries that support 73% of all @MSCecolabel certified tuna could face suspension. #WCPFC http://ow.ly/W5Z250Gr6dN

"The stocks are in healthy shape, and that’s why it’s important to put in these harvest strategies now when tuna species are not up against the wall and it hasn’t become a crisis" says @MSCecolabel's Bill Holden regarding #WCPFC & WCPO tuna.
https://tinyurl.com/s6ww4zxx

The @MSCecolabel warns:

Adopt harvest strategies at #WCPFC by the 2022 Commission meeting... or MSC-certified WCPO fisheries will face suspension in 2023.

Will decision-makers take note?
https://tinyurl.com/jv5me7jc

Recent News

MSC-certified Western Central Pacific tuna could face suspension risk

October 12, 2021

MSC-certified Western Central Pacific tuna could face suspension risk

Via www.msc.org
MSC warns that WCPO tuna fisheries will lose certification if the development of HS continues to stall

October 12, 2021

MSC warns that WCPO tuna fisheries will lose certification if the development of HS continues to stall

Via harveststrategies.org
European Parliament Members Discuss Future of Fisheries Management

July 1, 2021

European Parliament Members Discuss Future of Fisheries Management

Via globaltunaalliance.com

Resources