Fisheries

Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission marks progress on sharks but fails to adopt tuna conservation measures

Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission marks progress on sharks but fails to adopt tuna conservation measures

Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission marks progress on sharks but fails to adopt tuna conservation measures

04/07/2016

The Annual Meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) ended on 1st July in La Jolla, California. While no measures were adopted for the management of Tropical Tuna and for the conservation of Bluefin Tuna, good progress was made on shark conservation and on Fishing Aggregating Devices (FADs) management.

Members could not agree on the recommendations by scientific experts to extend the fishing closure for Bigeye and Yellow-fin tuna to a total of 82 days in order to ensure sustainable fisheries in the region while accommodating for the recent increase in fleet capacity. Discussions will resume at an extraordinary meeting to be held in October. The EU is committed to adopting conservation measures in line with scientific advice. No progress was made on the conservation of Bluefin Tuna, a stock which is close to collapse. Decisions were deferred to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

Good results, on the other hand, were achieved for sharks. The conservation measures adopted for silky sharks are not as strong as the EU would have liked, but are definitely a step in the right direction and will hopefully loosens some of the pressure on this vulnerable species. The new measures adopted for stock assessment and data collection on both silky and hammerhead sharks, with safe release procedures for all non-retained sharks and a general ban on shark lines, are equally encouraging.

The EU proposal on Fishing Aggregating Devices (FADs) was adopted and it will allow for progress on collection of data, research and management of FADs.

While no decision was taken on the reduction of fleet capacity, general principles were agreed on and the EU entrusted with developing concrete proposals against overcapacity to be presented at the October meeting.

Regrettably, the IATTC could not reach a consensus on the EU's proposals on fins naturally attached and on port state measures. The EU strongly encourages action in these areas as a way to combat non-sustainable fishing practices and contribute to the protection of vulnerable shark stocks.

Members re-elected the current Director, who is to modernise the organisation's working methods and resource management on the basis of the recommendations issued by a recent Performance Review.

Background

IATTC is a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation responsible for the conservation and management of tuna and other marine species in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Its members are: Belize, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, France, Guatemala, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, United States, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Spain is the only EU Member State that fishes in the area.

More information

IATTC's website