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Greenpeace urge better management as Taiwan bluefin tuna stocks low

TAIPEI--Taiwan should have better fishing resource management as the Pacific bluefin tuna stock of over 3 years old has fallen to near record lows, Greenpeace East Asia urged Tuesday.

Taiwanese bluefin catches have increased, rising from 385 fish caught as of May 19, up 68 percent from 229 fish caught during the same period of last year, the Taiwan Fisheries Agency said in a statement.

In response to the agency's statement, the conservation group urged the public and the government to be more aware of the diminishing population of the species.

The agency attributed the rise in Taiwanese catches to reduced fishing disputes with other countries and said its fishermen adhere to international standards and practice sustainable fishing methods.

A fishery pact signed with Japan last April allows Taiwanese fishermen an additional 4,530 square kilometers in which they can operate free of intervention by the Japanese authorities, while Taiwan is also negotiating with the Philippines to reduce fishing disputes, which will all lead to further increasing catches, the agency said.

“Taiwan may have growing catches due to the additional fishing area it gained following the fishery pact with Japan, but we still cannot deny that the population of Pacific bluefin is getting smaller,” Yen Ning, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, told CNA.

Taiwan should promote a proposal that fishing countries, such as Japan, Mexico and South Korea, should increase a 15 percent cut in catches of tuna three years old and under to 50 percent, Yen added.

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