WASHINGTON (CN) – The capacity of the U.S. tuna fishing fleet in the Eastern Pacific Ocean will be allowed to more than triple under a proposal by the National Marine Fisheries Services to drop a self-imposed limit of 9,000 cubic meters and let fleet capacity rise to 31,000 cubic meters.
Under the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Convention the U.S. is authorized to have a fleet capacity of 39,000 cubic meters.
The U.S. adopted the voluntary lower capacity in 2005 as a diplomatic measure which essentially maintained the existing U.S. capacity to encourage other convention members to limit their own capacity. Japan, Taiwan and several other nations had, and continue to have, chronic over-capacity in their fleets which has led to pressure from those countries reduce limitations on fishing in all fisheries covered by the convention.
The primary reason for raising the capacity of the fleet is economic development of the eastern Pacific Ocean fishing industry which has declined over the years due, in part, to the limited capacity, which had led many vessel owners to move to the western and central Pacific Ocean fishery which allows for greater catch.