New measures have been adopted by the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement’s Meeting of Parties (SIOFA MoP) in Mauritius last week, which will effectively eliminate under-regulated toothfish operations within the Agreement area.
The SIOFA Agreement closes a loophole that existed within the existing rules, which allowed a signatory nation to permit their vessels to operate without catch limits or by-catch limits in areas adjacent to existing managed toothfish fisheries.
‘Over the past 18 months, an under-regulated catch of close to 800 tonnes of toothfish has been caught across two areas within SIOFA waters. It is simply not acceptable that this be allowed to happen and so we are pleased to see new rules put in place to prevent this,’ said David Carter, CEO of Austral Fisheries, and praised the role of the Australian Government in placing pressure and influence on SIOFA Contracting Parties to close the loophole.
‘I would like to sincerely thank the Australian Department of Agriculture, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Australian Antarctic Division, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science, the Attorney-General’s Department and the large network of players that helped close this loophole. This result ensures that toothfish fisheries remain sustainable.’
The SIOFA Agreement is one of the newest Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and Austral Fisheries is committed to working with SIOFA’s Contracting Parties and the Australian Government to ensure that its fisheries are managed in a sustainable manner, in accordance with sound, robust science.