IATTC is getting ready for the 90th meeting of the Commission. Our coalition has a list of things we would like to see member nations accomplish.
June 9, 2016
The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) is getting ready to meet for the 90th meeting of the Commission from June 21 – July 1, 2016 in La Jolla, California and our coalition has a list of things we would like to see member nations accomplish. You can download our position statement here or you can scroll through this interactive blog, filled with links and useful resources, to learn about the most pressing issues related to the meeting.
We have collected a library of videos, reports and blogs to help educate on the challenges and opportunities facing our global tuna resources and the greater marine ecosystem. So sit back and click your way through our priorities for the Eastern Pacific Ocean tuna fisheries.
Harvest Control Rules (HCRs) and Reference Points. HCRs are a set of well-defined management actions to be taken in response to changes in stock status with respect to target and limit reference points. Unless there is a pre-agreed upon action plan for avoiding overfishing or for rebuilding an overfished stock, long negotiations lead to delayed action or inaction. The adoption of HCRs is a key aspect of modern fisheries management, and is also a requirement of several eco-label certification programs.
In 2016, the Staff is recommending a more complete HCR for tropical tunas that uses a limit reference point in addition to a target reference point. At this year’s meeting, ISSF Urges the Commission to adopt the interim HCR recommended by the Staff and to require that it be tested for robustness to the main uncertainties in the assessment, such as the stock-recruitment relationship.
Closed Vessel Registries and Management of Fleet Capacity. Fishing fleet overcapacity increases pressure to weaken management measures and eventually leads to stock overexploitation. In order to further the progress through management of fishing capacity, ISSF urges the IATTC to implement the recommendations from the 2014 Technical Experts Workshop on the Capacity of the Tuna-fishing Fleet in the EPO in order to strengthen the 2005 Plan for the Regional Management of Fishing Capacity and reduce the current capacity that is well in excess of resource productivity. ISSF also encourages the IATTC to consider the outcomes of the 2014 ISSF workshop on the transfer of fishing capacity from developed to developing countries in any regional capacity management scheme.
Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) Management. Setting on FADs accounts for over half of global tuna catches. ISSF remains disappointed that the substantial progress made by the IATTC in 2013, with the adoption of a resolution regarding FAD management and reporting, was undone last year when the Commission delayed — until 2017 — the FAD data collection requirements and — until 2019 — the provision of FAD management recommendations.
To progress the collection of FAD data and adoption of science-based FAD management measures, ISSF:
- Encourages the IATTC to accelerate the process of agreeing to a comprehensive monitoring and management measure for FADs. At the same time, IATTC should consider the possibility of using data collected by FADs for scientific monitoring of tuna stocks.
- Encourages all members to implement as soon as possible the provisions in Resolution C-15-03 regarding the use of non-entangling FADs designs to reduce the incidence of entanglement of bycatch species, using biodegradable material as much as possible, based on the principles outlined in Resolution. This is a critical step in the reduction of shark mortality and reduction of other ecosystem impacts in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
However, ISSF applauds any IATTC fleets that have begun providing FAD data consistent with the original Resolution C-13-04. ISSF is also pleased that the ad hoc Working Group on FADs had it’s first face-to-face meeting immediately following the SAC. Nevertheless, improvements are still needed on the collection of FAD data and adoption of science-based FAD management measures by the Commission.
CONSERVATION & MANAGEMENT MEASURES at IATTC
Tuna Stocks. The 2016 stock assessments by IATTC staff indicate that yellowfin and bigeye have been experiencing fishing mortality levels slightly below the MSY level in recent years. However, operative capacity of the purse seine fleet as of April 2016 has increased by 11% over the previous three years. ISSF urges the Commission to adopt measures to avoid an increase in fishing mortality for all fleets. Such measures could include extending the length of the purse seine fishery closure, and/or extending the time/area closure known as “El Corralito.”
The stock of Pacific bluefin tuna is in a dire state. ISSF urges that, at a minimum, IATTC extend the current measure into the future and require that the stock be assessed annually so as to monitor it closely. IATTC should also encourage WCPFC to adopt additional measures to decrease mortality on adult bluefin.
IATTC Compliance, VMS and IUU Vessel Lists. Vessel monitoring systems (VMS) is critical in the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU) and for effective monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS). The IATTC must improve its transparency regarding the levels of compliance by members with their obligations to the Commission. In addition, improvements are needed to strengthen IATTC’s monitoring, control and surveillance tools, such as its VMS and IUU Vessel List measures.
ISSF urges the IATTC to set clear milestones for improving compliance by requiring CPCs to submit a compliance action plan for identified infractions, and begin discussing how the Commission will respond to repeated and significant instances of non-compliance. In addition, ISSF urges the adoption of the amendment to increase the transparency of the IATTC compliance process by making public the responses from members to areas of identified non-compliance, increasing the level of detail in the Review Committee report regarding the specific areas where members and CNMs are non-compliant and its recommendations to address such noncompliance.
The IATTC should continue to reform its satellite-based VMS by ensuring that VMS data can be available to the Secretariat and be used for scientific or compliance purposes and to adopt the recommendation of the Staff and the SAC to increase observer coverage on longline vessels to 20% over a five year period, and at the same time strengthen compliance with the existing 5% longline observer coverage requirement by identifying and sanctioning non-compliance through the Review Committee.
Finally, ISSF urges the IATTC to require 100% observer coverage (human or electronic) on IATTC capacity classes 4 and 5 purse seine vessels, where not already required under the AIDCP and/or in force IATTC Resolutions.
Sharks and Rays. In 2016, the Staff and SAC made a number of recommendations to mitigate the bycatch of vulnerable species in both purse seine and longline fisheries. At this year’s meeting ISSF strongly supports the adoption of measures to mitigate incidental catch and maximize release survival of these species.
At the same time, ISSF urges the IATTC to improve the monitoring of all tuna fisheries that do not have adequate levels of observer coverage, such as small and medium-size purse seiners and longline vessels. Adequate monitoring of all fisheries is required to ensure implementation. ISSF also urges the Commission to take immediate steps to enforce the existing resolution on shark finning, and strengthen that resolution by requiring that all sharks be landed with fins naturally attached.
Read this post in Spanish: Prioridades para las Pesquerías de Atún del Pacífico Oriental