Tuna measures adopted at ICCAT meeting

Tuna measures adopted at ICCAT meeting ICCAT has adopted EU proposals on greater control and traceability of bluefin tuna activities. Photo: NOAA

Achieving new management measures for tropical tuna fisheries was a key objective of the 2019 ICCAT annual meeting, where a one-year interim measure was adopted to end overfishing of bigeye tuna, to overhaul FAD management and to reduce juvenile mortality of bigeye and yellowfin tunas.

The EU supported reductions in overall TACs and the introduction of catch limits for all contracting parties.

“The EU will continue to work hard intersessionally to ensure the adoption of a multi-annual plan next year including more comprehensive measures on fishing capacity and TAC allocation and management,” an EU Commission source said.

Based on two EU proposals, ICCAT adopted a total allowable catch (TAC) for the southern Atlantic blue shark (28,923 tonnes) and a quota allocation for the northern Atlantic blue shark. This allocation of the existing TAC, the first of its kind for shark within ICCAT, is a ground-breaking decision that is hoped will provide the platform for the long term management of this species.

ICCAT also agreed on a rebuilding programme for marlins aiming to end overfishing of blue marlin and to rebuild blue and white marlins, following a proposal co-sponsored by the EU.

Two EU proposals aiming at strengthening the control and traceability of bluefin tuna related activities were adopted by ICCAT. The proposals aim firstly at the exchange of inspection personnel in bluefin tuna trap and farms, and secondly the establishment of a working group to continue working on control and traceability measures for bluefin tuna.

“Concerning shortfin mako, despite a more ambitious proposal by the EU, the existing ICCAT provisions have been kept,” the EU Commission’s spokeseman commented.

“However, an intersessional meeting will be convened to develop provisions to effectively further decrease the mortality of shortfin mako. The EU will continue to work together with the other contracting parties of ICCAT for a successful recovery of the stock.”

ICCAT also approved the long-awaited package to amend the ICCAT Convention. This landmark agreement will improve ICCAT’s ability to effectively manage targeted shark fisheries and will modernise its working methods and decision making procedures. The EU was one of the CPCs that signed the Protocol at the meeting, sending a strong signal of our commitment to strengthening ICCAT as an organisation.

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