News of the WeekFisheries

Protecting the Last Great Tuna Stocks

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Science  29 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5931, pp. 1133
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1133

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Representatives of Western Pacific island nations last week put the finishing touches on a series of bold new measures aimed at saving the world's last great tuna stocks. Last May, the group decided to bar fishing in two huge pockets of international waters, creating the largest ever no-fishing zone. Fishing in the rest of the Western Pacific is regulated by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. The result: four no-take areas totaling 1.2 million square kilometers stretching 7000 km from French Polynesia to Palau. Combined, the no-take zones are more than three times the size of California and dwarf the 360,000-km2 reserve in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, whose waters contain far fewer fish.