Monday, November 12, 2012

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) commences in Morocco

Beginning today, member governments are gathering for a week in Agadir, Morocco, to discuss conservation and management of tuna, particularly the valuable and severely depleted Atlantic bluefin tuna, and several species of threatened sharks, and will also be exploring questions of illegal fishing, possible solutions and combating fraud. 

The Pew Environment Group calls on member of ICCAT to take the following critical actions at the 18th Special Meeting of the Commission:

1. Adopt Science-based Measures for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

1.1 In line with scientific advice, do not increase any Atlantic bluefin quotas until the best available    science is incorporated into the stock assessment, uncertainty is reduced, and illegal fishing is effectively addressed

1.1.1 Allow the western Atlantic population to rebuild

1.1.2 Do not increase quotas in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean

2. Adopt Conservation and Management Measures to Protect Sharks

2.1 Prohibit the retention of porbeagle and other threatened and highly vulnerable shark species

2.2 Establish concrete, precautionary, science-based catch limits for shortfin mako and blue sharks

2.3 Require best practices for reducing shark bycatch and finning, including requiring that sharks are landed with their fins still naturally attached and banning the use of wire leaders

3. Improve Compliance with ICCAT Measures

3.1 Fully implement the electronic bluefin catch documentation (eBCD) scheme by the start of the 2013 purse seine fishing season in the Mediterranean Sea

3.2 Take decisive action against the ongoing use of illegal driftnets in the Mediterranean Sea

3.3 Discontinue all carry-forwarded of Atlantic bluefin tuna under-harvest

3.4 Adopt a strong port State measures scheme

3.5 Improve the identification of fishing vessels, particularly those fishing for bluefin tuna

3.5.1 Require that, as a first step, all bluefin tuna vessels authorised to fish or operate in the Convention Area that are 20 metres or greater or fish outside the EEZ of their flag State have an IMO number, and that this number is reported as records of ICCAT vessels authorised to fish bluefin tuna

3.5.2 Ensure that Contracting Parties, Cooperating non-Contracting Parties, Entities or Fishing Entities (CPCs) effectively implement the mandate to report a vessel’s IMO number by submitting all the information required under Recommendations 11-12 and 10-04 before the end of 2012; and to regularly update information on authorised vessels as required, so that the Executive Secretary can duly ensure that the records are publicly available in real time

3.5.3 Ensure that all bluefin tuna documentation requirements are consistent with the ICCAT obligation to report IMO numbers for bluefin tuna vessels and that amendments are introduced to Annexes 2–6 of Recommendation 10-04, and in Annexes 1, 2 and 3 of the Recommendations 11-20 so as to mandate that the IMO number be provided in all relevant forms and requirements

3.6 Review implementation of and compliance with existing shark measures

4. Begin the Formal Process to Amend the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas

4.1 Update the ICCAT Convention text to explicitly include sharks

4.2 Implement the ecosystem approach to fisheries management and ensure that the precautionary principle underpins all conservation and management decisions

Read the full policy statement here.

Photo courtesy of YoTuT via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)