No Effective Management in Indian Ocean Tuna Fisheries without MCS
Monitoring, Control and Surveillance, or MCS, underlies effective fisheries management. The often-quoted paper Recommended Best Practices for RFMOs makes it plain: “compliance with, and effective enforcement of, agreed conservation and management measures, supported by adequate MCS, are crucial to implementation [of management measures]”. MCS provides the critical tools and systems to enable cross-referencing and verification of a vessel’s and the flag State’s implementation of and compliance with the agreed-upon management measures.
In the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the progressive transition to the implementation of harvest strategies (referred to as Management Procedures by the IOTC) is commendable. Unfortunately, the same impetus to strengthen MCS measures is lacking, despite recommendations from two Performance Review panels that clearly counselled the implementation of an integrated MCS program to address non-compliance by vessels and flag State members.
On the eve of the annual IOTC meeting, ISSF’s Claire van der Geest and WWF’s Wetjens Dimmlich issue a call to action on MCS measures. Only when harvest strategies and MCS tools are working in concert can the long-term sustainability of IOTC’s tuna resources be realised.
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is a global coalition of scientists, the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) — the world’s leading conservation organization — promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health. To learn more, visit https://iss-foundation.org/.