Progress on Management, but Impasse on Sharks and Other Topics
Improved tuna measures, harvest strategies, and bycatch mitigation top the priority list for annual meeting
The western and central Pacific Ocean is home to the world’s largest tuna fishing grounds, with more than half of the world’s tuna catch coming from this region. Tuna resources are integral to many coastal state economies, providing tens of thousands of jobs. Coastal States and fishing nations will meet in Bali, Indonesia this December for the 12th Regular Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the governing body for tuna stocks and the associate marine ecosystems of the region. As always, there is a great deal at stake and our coalition has a list of things we would like to see member nations accomplish.
As the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) gets ready for their 24th Regular Meeting in St. Julian’s, Malta from November 10-17, ISSF is committed to helping the region continue progress on fisheries management. The strategy for doing so prioritizes, but is not limited to, urging further improvement in the collection of FAD data, expanding the use of human observers, electronic monitoring and reporting technologies, and advancing the development of Harvest Control Rules (HCRs) in order to increase sustainability in the region’s tuna fisheries.
Atlantic and Mediterranean fishing nations are getting ready to come together for the 24th Regular Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in St. Julian’s, Malta from November 10-17. Our coalition has a list of things we would like to see member nations accomplish. You can download our position statement, or you can use this page filled with interactive links to learn more about the issues that matter most.
Through the use of modern technologies to better monitor fishing activity at sea, there can be many winners: existing observer program coverage can be complemented, data needed for both scientific and compliance purposes are collected, the Government of Ghana can improve monitoring and control and vessel owners can clearly observe what is happening aboard their boats.
When the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) Participating Companies agreed to follow the Foundation’s list of Conservation Measures, they knew that independent compliance auditing would be necessary to independently assess conformance and also to track performance over time. With the level of detail in this year’s audit, it has become even more obvious that the independent audit is an indispensable part of the process. Not only does it keep things in check, it has proven to be the most effective way to track detailed progress and reveal gaps that need additional work. During MRAG Americas’ recent audit of the Participating Companies to assess conformance with the 2014 conservation measures and commitments, we took things further than in year’s past. We shared our preliminary findings with all of the individual companies and a dialogue period allowed all parties to discuss the information submitted and to provide additional information to assist us in reaching accurate and well-supported conclusions. The final audit results were based, then, on a more thorough review of all relevant information, resulting in the most clarity in ISSF auditing results MRAG Americas has ever been able to report, as well as the ability for ISSF to track continuous improvement. Not only does this serve the primary audit and compliance purposes, but perhaps more importantly, it gives a clear picture of where everyone is, and helps chart a course for where they need to be.
Fishing capacity is the amount of fish or fishing effort that can be produced over a period of time (i.e. one year or a full fishing season) by a vessel or a fleet if fully utilized. Proper capacity management seems like a simple enough concept: have fewer boats on the water so that pressure on tuna stocks relents to a more ideal level. If you could only explain it in one sentence, that might just be the best way to do it; however, like all issues associated to managing fisheries, we don’t have the luxury of simplicity, which is why I’m glad I have the opportunity to say more than a sentence about how we, as conservationists and scientists, can continue to move the needle to limit fishing capacity across all tuna fisheries to more sustainable planes.
It is Technical and Compliance Committee (TCC) time again in the western and central Pacific Ocean with the 11th TCC meeting scheduled from 23-29 September in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. While some members have made great progress through stakeholder collaboration throughout the intersessional period, given the ongoing and pending issues again on the agenda, one wonders if we are attending TCC 10 or TCC 11? There is certainly a sense of déjà vu as we prepare for this meeting.
Although several delegations put forth progressive proposals on these issues, the meeting ended with the adoption of only a handful of measures – and some were even a step backward.
Delegados de todo el mundo se darán cita la semana próxima en Guayaquil (Ecuador) para la reunión anual de la Comisión Interamericana del Atún Tropical (CIAT). Este órgano directivo es responsable de la gestión de los recursos atuneros del océano Pacífico oriental (EPO) y es el más antiguo del mundo. Las prácticas óptimas, tales como el logro de una cobertura íntegra por parte de observadores en ciertos buques cerqueros y una completa recogida de datos, han sido la norma aquí durante bastante tiempo, lo cual ha hecho de la CIAT un líder en ciertas áreas. Aun así, como es el caso de todas la OROP del atún, las naciones pesqueras deben seguir mejorando y fortaleciendo sus esfuerzos para gestionar los recursos vitales de su región con el fin de mantenerse al día en relación con normativas internacionales en evolución y con las expectativas de mercado.
Next week, delegates from around the world will gather in Guayaquil, Ecuador for the annual the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Commission Meeting. This management body is responsible for managing tuna resources in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO), and it’s the world’s oldest. Best practices like 100% observer coverage on certain purse seine vessels and comprehensive data collection have been the norm here for some time, and that makes the IATTC a leader in certain areas. However, as is the case for all tuna RFMOs, fishing nations must continue to improve and strengthen their efforts to manage their region’s vital resources to keep pace with evolving international standards and market expectations.
Constructive engagement from all parties at the 2015 IOTC session resulted in moderate improvement on some fronts, including data provision and target and limit reference points. But there is more work to be done
Every year in recognition of World Tuna Day, our Foundation sets aside some time to reflect on the wins of the year behind us and what will be our focus in the year to come.
This year’s IOTC meeting, held 27 April-1 May 2015 in Busan, Korea, has the potential to be a concrete win for sustainable tuna and a turning point for tuna management in the Indian Ocean.
Indian Ocean fishing nations are getting ready to meet for the 19th session of the Commission this April in Busan, Korea, and our coalition has a list of things we would like to see member nations accomplish.
Situated at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Indonesia is a growing player in the global seafood marketplace. Understanding the catch and associated effort from Indonesian tuna fishing vessels and identifying and implementing effective management practices is therefore critical for ensuring sustainable tuna resources in both the Indian and Pacific oceans.
As the gap on FAD data begins to close, the bottom line remains – no gear or method is perfect, and comprehensive management is the goal
2014 marked another productive round of ISSF by-catch mitigation workshops held with fishers from the principal tuna purse seine fleets of the world.
Hits And Misses On The Journey Toward More Sustainable Tuna
The 19th Special Meeting of ICCAT took some important steps last week to move the needle forward in several critical management areas to assure the future sustainability of tuna in the region.
If WCPFC can’t get bigeye right, is the rest of the fishery at risk?
Coastal States and fishing nations will meet this December for the 11th Regular Session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). As always, there is a great deal at stake and our coalition has a list of things we would like to see member nations accomplish.
Observers and Vessel Monitoring Systems – Essential Programs for Successful Tuna Fisheries ManagementNovember 7, 2014
As the Commission’s annual meeting in Genoa, Italy commences, our organizations – Monterey Bay Aquarium, WWF and ISSF – join together in urging ICCAT to adopt amendments to strengthen its VMS provisions as well as to join other tuna RFMOs and require 100 percent observer coverage for purse seine vessels.