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ISSF Calls on Indian Ocean Tuna Fisheries Managers to Reduce Yellowfin Catch

Washington, D.C.

Foundation Includes Improved Skipjack and Bigeye Management, Strengthened FAD Management Measures, and More Among Top Asks for Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) Annual Meeting

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has published a position statement ahead of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC) annual meeting, which takes place May 16-20, 2022. The statement leads with the request for urgent and immediate steps to reduce catch of the yellowfin tuna in line with scientific advice.

“Although the IOTC ultimately agreed on a new rebuilding measure for yellowfin tuna in 2021, the effectiveness of that measure is uncertain given the number of Commission members that objected to it,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “The situation is as just as urgent this year as it was in 2021. The yellowfin stock remains overfished, and catches continue to increase despite the rebuilding plan and catch reductions by some fleets under previous measures.

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“And it’s not just yellowfin that are of concern. Catches of skipjack tuna in 2020 were higher than the annual catch limits set by the IOTC harvest control rule. The Commission must adopt an effective, enforceable rebuilding plan for yellowfin tuna that gives full effect to the advice of the IOTC Scientific Committee by reducing catches by at least 22%,” Jackson continued. “And for skipjack, the IOTC must ensure that catches in 2022 do not exceed the agreed annual limit. These actions are critical to ensuring the long-term sustainable management of these important tuna resources.”

Specifically, ISSF is calling on IOTC to: 

  • Adopt revisions to ensure the effective rebuilding of yellowfin tuna by reducing catches by at least 22% relative to the 2020 catch level; and address over-catches in contravention of specific IOTC resolutions
  • Ensure that catches of skipjack in 2022 do not exceed the limit set by the adopted harvest control rule
  • Adopt a bigeye tuna management procedure, and agree on permanent limit and target reference points for tropical and temperate tunas, particularly yellowfin
  • Strengthen fish aggregating device (FAD) management measures
  • Endorse the terms of references and work plan developed by the IOTC ad-hoc Working Group and accelerate work on electronic monitoring program standards
  • Amend the resolution to require fins naturally attached for sharks, irrespective of how they are landed

Read the full IOTC Position Statement on the ISSF website. A French translation of the statement is available.

Post Contact: Charlie Patterson, +1 202-680-8132, [email protected]
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