Climate change warrants greater fisheries conservation, NGO says

Cook Island News

Environmental factors, including climate change, are affecting catches for local fishermen and more needs to be done to ensure Pacific tuna stocks remain healthy, says an official with the World Wildlife Fund.

While acknowledging the reported healthy state of regional tuna stocks, climate change necessitates more conservative catch limits, says a fisheries expert with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

In responding to questions by Cook Islands News regarding a recent shortage of fish on Rarotonga, WWF Western and Central Pacific Tuna programme manager Alfred “Bubba” Cook said he agreed with a government official that environmental factors “play a role in determining abundance, and, ultimately, fisheries success”.

“We know that climate change is having a significant impact across the Pacific, causing changes in distribution of stocks in addition to negative impacts on the marine ecosystem including coral bleaching and changing weather patterns,” Cook said.

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