RFMO · IATTC
The IATTC is the oldest of the regional tuna management bodies, created in 1949 by a Convention between Costa Rica and the United States. In 1966, the IATTC initiated the first tuna fishery management program anywhere in the world, limiting the annual catch of yellowfin. The commission’s records on catch collections date back to 1934.
The IATTC collects catch data on fish sizes, quantities and locations of catch, the amount of fishing effort generated to make the catches, as well as biological information on age, growth, and reproduction for analysis purposes. All of this is used by the IATTC’s scientific staff to formulate mathematical models to estimate the impact of fishing on the stock. If the studies indicate that fishing needs to be reduced in order to sustain maximum yields, the IATTC Director formulates conservation recommendations to present to the member nations during the Plenary (the High Contracting Parties or members of the IATTC).
The members can accept the recommendations, accept them with modifications, or reject them. If the recommendation is to be accepted, it must be by unanimous consent of all members. Cooperating non-members may not vote, but can choose to be bound by the decisions of the IATTC. The decision is then binding on the members as well as any cooperating non-member that agrees to be bound by it. Then each member government bears the responsibility to implement national legislation to ensure that vessels flying their flag comply with the program. Enforcement is the responsibility of the vessels’ flag state, but the IATTC monitors compliance.