Majuro (Marshall Islands) (AFP) - The future of the world's largest tuna fishery will be decided at a meeting in Australia this week, with Pacific island nations demanding tighter controls on a catch now worth US$7.0 billion a year.
A record 2.65 million tons of tuna was hauled from the Pacific last year, accounting for 60 percent of the global catch, with most of the fishing conducted by so-called "distant water" fleets from as far afield as Europe, the United States, China, Korea and Taiwan.
Island nations, many of which rely on tuna for a significant portion of their income, fear stocks are becoming unsustainable and want action at the December 2-6 meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Cairns.
"If distant water nations support sustainability of the resource, then they need to commit to a 30 percent reduction in catches," Marshall Islands fisheries director Glen Joseph said.
"It's not a question of should they do it or not -- they have to do it or face the consequences."