Closure of Pacific tuna fisheries begin

Friday, November 19 2010 @ 09:51 am EST

Contributed by: Don Winner

MEXICO - Since 18 November and until 18 January 2011, commercial fishing of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus orientalis) and skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) is prohibited in federal waters of the Pacific Ocean. The temporary ban on fishing, established by the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca), also applies to Mexican-flagged vessels operating on the high seas and in foreign waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). The ban affects the vessels in the area bounded by the coast of North America, Central and South America and by the following lines: the parallel of 40 degrees north latitude from the coast of North America, to its intersection with the meridian of 150 degrees west longitude, the meridian of 150 degrees west longitude to its intersection with the parallel of latitude 40 degrees south and the latter parallel to its intersection with the South American coast.

Excluded from the ban on tuna are fishing rod boats and those participating in recreational sports. Moreover, the Conapesca resolution temporarily prohibits Mexican flagged purse seiners fishing for tuna in these high seas and foreign waters which are in the area regulated by the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).

Purse seine vessels flying the Mexican flag whilst carrying a capacity of between 182 and 272 metric tonnes will be allowed to conduct a fishing trip up to a maximum of 30 days during the closed period, provided they have a scientific observer on board during the trip.

According to statistics from CIAT, from 1 January to 3 October 2010, Mexican vessels captured 104,362 tonnes of tuna. The Ecuadorian fleet fishing in the same period, caught 104,477 tonnes, Panama 47,868 tonnes, Venezuela 26,237 tonnes, among others.

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