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ISSF Disappointed by Lack of Agreement on FAD Management at Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) recently concluded a special meeting to consider amending its resolution 19/02 on the management of fish aggregating devices (FADs) — a resolution that was not adopted at the IOTC annual meeting in June 2021 due to lack of clarity and irregularities in the voting procedures. 

In a position statement issued before the IOTC annual meeting, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) called for: progress on science-based limits on FAD deployments and/or FAD sets; the development of FAD marking guidelines and FAD tracking and recovery policies; requiring the use of biodegradable materials in the construction of FADs, and establishing a timeline for transitioning to 100% biodegradable FADs.

Despite multiple opportunities to address the matter — first, at their annual meeting in June 2021 and again at a special meeting held November 29, 2021 — the Commission was unable to adopt amendments to strengthen its FAD management resolution.

“We are disappointed that IOTC could not agree on revisions to improve its FAD management resolution this year, delaying progress on this critical issue until the 2022 Commission meeting,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “ISSF recognizes the importance of voting procedures as a tool for the RFMO decision-making process. Still, we strongly encourage all IOTC members to engage in collaborative discussions in the lead up to the 2022 annual meeting.

“Only through such ongoing communication can IOTC reach an agreement to strengthen FAD management that will be supported and effectively implemented by all parties,” Jackson continued. “ISSF will continue to engage in advocacy on these and other Indian Ocean tuna sustainability priorities in the New Year.”