Dr. Mudjekeewis Santos, Scientist V from the Department of Agriculture-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (DA-NFRDI), joined other fisheries scientists and policymakers from Indonesia and Vietnam in advocating for a stronger collective vision and regional strategy to secure yellowfin tuna fisheries in the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO).

The fourth dialogue on harvest strategy implementation for tuna fisheries in WCPO was held on May 2-3, 2024 in Bali, Indonesia. The initiative sought to harmonize conservation measures for yellowfin tuna in the WCPO, the world’s largest tuna fisheries, to avoid the potential risk of collapse in the future.

Dr. Santos provided scientific insights and facilitated the discussion on the tuna sub-stocks. He also discussed the importance of Marine Protected Area networks. In his presentation titled, “Does the tuna population structure support a VIP coalition?” he reiterated the need for joint cooperation and management of tuna fishes in Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago (IMPA). He highlighted the importance of the coalition of three countries on fisheries management, conservation, policymaking, and sustainable practices across the region.

According to the report of WWF, overfishing and increasing ocean temperatures have significantly changed the tuna fishing environment, impacting fishing communities in the region.

The cooperation of three countries, also known as the “VIP coalition” is crucial for discussing shared approaches to managing tuna in the region and addressing key issues collectively.

The first dialogue was held in 2022 in Manila, Philippines; while the second and third dialogues were conducted in Bangkok, Thailand in 2023. The fourth dialogue sought to further shape the “VIP coalition” and advance the adoption and the implementation of the harvest strategy in WCPO.

The dialogue was organized by WWF, an independent conservation organization, with over 30 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries; and Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), a non-governmental organization dedicated to advancing responsible and sustainable fisheries for the benefit of coastal communities and marine ecosystems. ### (Rita dela Cruz)