Commission satisfied with ICCAT outcome

19 Nov 2015

Following the 24th Regular Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the European Commission has said that although not all of its ambitions were met, on the whole the EU is satisfied with the results.

At the meeting a decision to go with the EU proposal of developing harvest control rules and an evaluation system for Northern albacore was made, along with the adoption of conservation measures for porbeagle, for which the EU had been tabling proposals for the last five years.

The EU also managed to get a comprehensive package of conservation and management measures for bigeye tuna. It includes a reduction of the Total Allowable Catch limits as well as measures to reduce the mortality of juvenile specimens, as recommended by scientific advice. 

Another important proposal adopted concerns the electronic catch documentation system for bluefin tuna, which will have to be used as from 1 May 2016 and will become a key tool for the conservation of the species. A margin of flexibility is contained in the decision to facilitate trade of bluefin tuna within the EU. 

While the current management measures for bluefin tuna remain unchanged, pending an update of the catch limits in 2016, the Commission managed to bring the assessment of Mediterranean swordfish forward to next year, so as to be able to work towards more efficient measures in the course of the year.

On a less positive note, parties were not ready to move towards meaningful measures for sharks, notably blue shark. The species now risks remaining unmanaged until the next stock assessment in 2018.

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