Tuvalu, a nation heavily reliant on tuna fishing for revenue, is hopeful that the 20th session of the Western and Central Pacific Fishing Commission (WCPFC) will address key issues related to longline fisheries. 

Samuela Finekaso, the Director of Fisheries in Tuvalu, has emphasised the need to address the compliance gaps in purse seine fishing and long line fishing, as they have different obligations. 

Tuvalu, which earns up to 40 percent of its national revenue from fishing is hopeful these issues would be addressed in the new Tropical Tuna Management Measure, expected to be a key outcome of the WCPFC at the end of this week.

“Tuvalu has benefited greatly from this measure, increasing revenue from licensing and securing joint ventures with fishing companies. They hope that any replacement measure will only require minor amendments to ensure the continued success of the tropical tuna industry.

The second issue of concern for Tuvalu is the allocation of fishing rights in the high seas. They emphasise that any allocation agreed upon must be tied to the interim management procedure established last year. Furthermore, they stress the importance of considering the special needs and requirements of small island developing states when determining fishing rights in the high seas.

The third issue raised by Tuvalu is the compliance and management strategy (CMS). They believe that there should be equal attention given to both skipjack and longline fisheries in terms of monitoring and management. While skipjack fisheries have received significant focus, the limited monitoring capacity and arrangements for longline fisheries have raised concerns.

Tuvalu hopes that the WCPFC meeting will address these three key issues and ensure sustainable management of tuna fisheries while considering the specific needs of small island developing states.

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