Nations fell short of an agreement on a complete temporary purse seine closure the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) tuna fishery--despite strong support for such a measure from both the European Union and the United States--a decision that keeps current conservation management measures in place through 2011.

Scientific assessments presented to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in December in Papeete, Tahiti, warned that current conservation and management measures would not allow the region's bigeye stock to recover from overfishing. In advance of the meeting ISSF urged nations to apply conservation and management measures in all waters of the region and to implement a total temporary closure of the purse seine fishery.

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) released the following statement about the outcome from president Susan Jackson:
"A key obstacle to the recovery of this region's bigeye stock is the continued capture of juvenile tuna in the purse seine fishery and the significant bigeye catch by longline vessels operating in the area. What did not happen in Tahiti this week underscores the need for continuing research into reducing bycatch in tuna fisheries and creating a set of global best practices for use in every purse seine fishery. ISSF has been and continues to work with scientists and fishermen on this important aspect of sustainability.

"We are pleased that all nations engaged in serious and thoughtful dialogue on the need for increased cooperation in the region. ISSF is hopeful that such talk bears fruit in the near future.

"Our foundation remains committed to supporting the scientific bodies of regional fisheries management organizations and helping to build consensus among nations with a shared interest in the sustainable future of tuna stocks in the WCPO."