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A stable step towards sustainable fishing in the Indian Ocean

Press release - 27/4/2012

Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) 16th Annual Meeting (22-26 April 2012, Australia)

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the Regional Fisheries Management Organisation responsible to manage tuna and tuna like species in the Indian Ocean, has concluded its annual plenary session yesterday 26 April in Fremantle, Australia, after five days of discussions which followed-up to three dedicated days on compliance issues.
Compliance and capacity building of IOTC Members Coastal States developing States remain the main challenges for this Tuna RFMO, whilst Members should start reflecting on how enhance its effectiveness, including through a modernization of its basic Agreement, whose conclusions preceded the New York Fish Stock Agreement entering into force.

The results of the meeting are welcomed by European Commission. IOTC has adopted a number of new measures in particular for the protection of some  by-catch species, as well as on the improvement of the its scientific committee works and on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).8 out of the 11 proposals tabled by the EU  session were adopted, showing the proactive and leading role of the EU in the IOTC.

More specifically, the main decisions adopted by the IOTC during the session were:

  • A resolution on minimum standards for recording of fishing catch and effort. Adoption of this resolution is a major step forward for IOTC as it will gather statistical information for all fishing gears (including the fleets using gillnet and pole and line covered for the first time by this kind of provisions) which is vital to the stock assessment.
  • A resolution on FAD (Fish Aggregating Devices) management plans.
  • A recommendation on best available science, based on the ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) Resolution.
  • A resolution on seabird by-catch mitigation measures, harmonising these measures with the ones having been adopted by ICCAT, to entry entries into force on 1 July 2014.
  • A resolution on by-catch mitigation measures for marine turtles.
  • A resolution on information concerning access agreements, which obliges Contracting Parties to provide information on their private and governmental agreements with coastal States for fishing in their exclusive Economic Zones.

However  the EU Commission regrets that the EU proposals on protection of sharks were not adopted for the difficult positions taken by some Costal States as well as some long distance fishing nations, and confirm its commitments in strengthening an ecosystem based approach to fishery.