ISSF calls for continued advances towards Harvest Control Rules and protections for yellowfin stock as it issues a statement setting out its position ahead of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission meeting scheduled to take place in La Réunion 23-27th May.
Representing a group of tuna vessel operators, NGOs and scientists, ISSF urges IOTC to take additional steps beyond last year’s workshops to adopt reference points and harvest control rules (with particular attention to Indian Ocean yellowfin), create closed vessel registries to address fleet capacity issues and continue to improve the region’s management and data collection of fish aggregating devices (FADs).
‘In collaboration with our NGO partners and participating companies, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has issued strong appeals to IOTC – from the adoption of measures that will reduce catches of IO yellowfin tuna and rebuild the stock to the development of an integrated monitoring, control and surveillance strategy,’ said ISSF President Susan Jackson.
‘IOTC delegates have received numerous outreach letters from ISSF participating companies as well as like-minded NGOs and industry colleagues prior to this meeting, and we hope that this unified call for action will be taken into account for the yellowfin issue, as well as other outstanding work that can and should be achieved in the region.’
According to the ISSF statement, the IOTC Scientific Committee projected that a 20% reduction in catch could rebuild the yellowfin stock to the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) level with 50% probability by 2024 and recommended that a rebuilding plan for the stock should be driven by an agreed Management Procedure (Harvest Strategy), including Harvest Control Rules, and based on the agreed interim target and limit reference points.
ISSF is urging the IOTC to adopt measures to reduce the catches of yellowfin by longline, gillnet, handline and purse seine by at least 20% and supports the Scientific Committee’s recommendation regarding a rebuilding plan.
Ahead of next week’s meeting, ISSF is pushing for the Commission to implement the recommendations of the second IOTC Performance Review on fishing capacity management and to consider the outcomes of the 2014 ISSF workshop. ISSF urges the Commission to amend Resolution 03/01 to create a comprehensive closed vessel registry.
ISSF has strong views on FAD use and is applying pressure for all fleets to implement provisions regarding the use of non-entangling FADs designs to reduce the incidental entanglement of non-target species, using biodegradable material as much as possible, based on the principles outlined in Resolution, while also urging the adoption of 100% observer coverage on large-scale tropical tuna purse seine fleets. ‘Where human onboard observers are not possible for certain fleets or vessel sizes, the Commission should immediately explore electronic monitoring systems and establish policies and guidelines for their use,’ SusanJackson said.