Ocean Equity Research

Tuna Fisheries Conservation and Management in the Pacific Islands Region

Publication Details

Q. Hanich, M. Jung, A. McDonald, S. Oh, S. Moon, J. An and M. Yoon. Tuna Fisheries Conservation and Management in the Pacific Islands Region: Implications for Korean Distant Water Fisheries. Asia-Pacific Journal of Ocean Law and Policy (2021). Vol. 6.


The Korean tuna fishing fleet has a long history of participation in the tuna fisheries of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (wcpo), the largest tuna fisheries in the world. As one of the largest distant water fishing fleets operating in the wcpo, Korea has a strong interest in maintaining access to both eez s and the high seas, and ensuring sustainability of the region’s tuna stocks. The regulatory environment for tuna fisheries in the wcpo is complex and multi-layered, with regional, sub-regional and national legislation, regulation and policies all affecting tuna fishing vessels and operations. Management of tuna fisheries within Pacific Island eez s is increasingly being tightened, including through the introduction of zone-based management approaches, and Pacific Island countries are also advocating for improved management of tuna fishing in the high seas. While all four primary tuna species in the wcpo are currently considered healthy, catch rates and economic conditions in the southern and tropical longline fisheries are in decline and catch reductions will be necessary to improve catch rates and increase economic returns for longline vessels. Within this context, the Korean distant water fishing fleet will need to strengthen engagement and cooperation with Pacific island States in order to maintain their competitiveness.

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