Partial progress on conservation measures for the South East Atlantic
Under the leadership of the EU Delegation, the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) adopted a number of conservation measures at its 8th Annual session held in Windhoek, Namibia, on 10 – 14 October.
Progress was reached in particular for the protection of vulnerable marine ecoystems (VMEs) and for the implementation of the FAO Port State Agreement. However, despite the EU's insistence, SEAFO could not reach a consensus to adopt a precautionary total allowable catch (TAC) for the pelagic armourhead.
The EU was instrumental to the adoption of important measures for the protection of VMEs, such as the acceptance of a footprint for bottom fisheries and the regulation of still unfished areas by the adoption of technical measures to protect VMEs.
Concerning thresholds to trigger the so called "move-on rule" in case of possible encounters with VMEs, the SEAFO Commission approved the provisions of the existing Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) for fixed gear, and the thresholds recently adopted by Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) for trawlers.
However, with regard to the conservation of demersal species no consensus could be reached to set a precautionary TAC for armourhead, despite the recommendations of the Scientific Committee and the insistence of the EU delegation. This was due to the inflexible position of a single Contractive Party.
With regards to compliance, SEAFO adopted a new Port State Measure fully in line with the FAO Port State Control Agreement. Its application will be essential for the conservation of species under the SEAFO Convention and for the international efforts to fight Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fisheries.
SEAFO is the Regional Fisheries Management Organisation responsible for the regulation and management of non-tuna species in the south-east Atlantic high seas. The EU is a full member of SEAFO and plays a leading role in its efforts towards sustainable fishing.