There is a general consensus among scientists, regional bodies, and governments that excess fishing capacity exists in most of the tuna purse seine fisheries and large-scale longline fisheries, and that the problem of overfishing is principally the result of open-access fishing and related excess fishing capacity.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
ISSF is concerned that, despite this consensus, excess fishing capacity exists in most of the tuna purse seine fisheries, and the fishing capacity of these fleets is actually growing. RFMOs are responsible for ensuring, through effective management, the long-term conservation and sustainable fishing of highly migratory fish stocks in the world’s oceans.
The objective of ISSF regarding capacity management is to facilitate the effective conservation and management of tuna resources under RFMO mandates.
WHAT WE ARE DOING ABOUT IT
In the ISSF capacity conservation measure, the tuna industry is urged to support only those vessels that are on the water unless new vessels are replacing existing fishing vessels that are taken completely out of service.
Once capacity is limited, nations must work toward fairly allocating rights to existing fishing capacity. ISSF has therefore convened workshops that build on the Bellagio Framework and advance these aspects of capacity management:
- The Cordoba Conference on the Allocation of Property Rights in Global Tuna Fisheries, which brought together diverse stakeholders to debate and discuss in a collaborative and neutral venue the allocation of property rights and subsequent use rights in multilateral tuna management programs
- The Sustainable Fishery Agreements: Strategies for Enforcement and Compliance, Maui Conferences, which covered compliance and enforcement in the context of rights-based management in multilateral tuna fisheries
The outcomes of these workshops recognized that the issue of capacity transfers is fundamental and a means of accommodating coastal states’ rights, which led ISSF to next convene the first workshop to discuss the issue – the ISSF Capacity Transfer Workshop.
As our measure on capacity management requires, ISSF will “continue to sponsor regional and global workshops on fleet capacity management, including mechanisms for capacity transfers.” In addition, ISSF reinforces its position on the topic in its advocacy to RFMOs. The first step that RFMOs can take toward managing capacity is to establish limited entry via a comprehensive, closed vessel registry with an eye toward ultimately reducing the number of fishing vessels to an appropriate level.