Despite COVID-19 Challenges, IOTC Must Do Everything Possible to Hold a Productive Meeting
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has published a position statement ahead of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC) virtual March 8-12 Special Session. The Session was called at the conclusion of the IOTC 24th Session Meeting in November 2020 in order to discuss a rebuilding plan for yellowfin tuna, which remains overfished in the region.
The impacts of COVID-19 continue to challenge regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) in conducting their meetings, but ISSF finds no reason that needed management action cannot be agreed to virtually.ISSF has identified action items on #yellowfin #tuna protections for #IOTC to address at its March meeting. Click To Tweet
“The yellowfin stock status in the Indian Ocean fisheries will not improve absent a comprehensive and strictly enforced management regime,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “The yellowfin stock continues to be overfished, and the current catch limits have been exceeded by some nations. The Commission holds the responsibility for managing this critical resource. It should take immediate action at the Special Session to adopt a science-based and enforceable rebuilding plan to ensure the long-term sustainable management of this important tuna resource.”
Specifically, ISSF is calling on IOTC to:
- Adopt without delay an effective rebuilding plan for yellowfin tuna that gives full effect to the advice of the IOTC Scientific Committee and achieves spawning stock biomass capable of producing MSY (SSBMSY) by 2027 with at least 50% probability — ensuring all gears and/or fleets harvesting yellowfin are taken into account to improve rebuilding potential of Resolution 19/01. If implemented effectively, this would imply a 15%-20% reduction from the 2017 yellowfin catch levels. IOTC must also address over-catches in contravention of Resolution 19/01.
- Ensure Contracting Party and Cooperating Non-Contracting Party (CPC) compliance with the rebuilding plan through the IOTC Compliance Committee.
- Urgently monitor and manage catches of skipjack to ensure catches in 2021 do not exceed the limit set by the adopted Harvest Control Rule in Resolution 16/02.
Read the full IOTC Position Statement on the ISSF website.About the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) — a global coalition of seafood companies, fisheries experts, scientific and environmental organizations, and the vessel community — promotes science-based initiatives for long-term tuna conservation, FAD management, bycatch mitigation, marine ecosystem health, capacity management, and illegal fishing prevention. Helping global tuna fisheries meet sustainability criteria to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council certification standard — without conditions — is ISSF's ultimate objective. To learn more, visit iss-foundation.org, and follow ISSF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.