EUROPE - The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has released its position statement in advance of the 19th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in Genoa, Italy on Novemeber 10-17.
ISSF strongly advocates for the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) by regional fisheries management organizations and national governments globally.
ICCAT’s measures for VMS are outdated and not in line with international best practices. For example, currently, ICCAT requires the transmission of information at a rate of every six hours, which will not allow for adequate monitoring of fishing activities. This summer, ICCAT’s Integrated Monitoring Measures (IMM) Working Group recommended reducing this rate to four hours. ISSF is urging ICCAT to adopt the IMM Working Group recommendation this year in Genoa, and to commit to further reforms to strengthen its VMS program in 2015.
“ICCAT is currently behind the curve on observer coverage,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson.
“Comprehensive observer coverage is a critical component of sustainable fisheries management. Observer coverage not only aids in combating IUU fishing activities and monitoring compliance with conservation management rules and national laws, it also results in the collection of much needed data.”
“The lack of 100 per cent observer coverage in the purse fishery in ICCAT is a serious impediment to successfully and sustainably managing these fisheries,” she continued. “ISSF is urging ICCAT to extend 100 per cent coverage of large-scale purse seine vessels to the entire year.”
ISSF also strongly supports the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRC) recommendation for the creation of a Working Group on FADs that involves all stakeholders and urges all ICCAT member countries to provide this data starting 1 January 2015 if they have not done so already, as required by ICCAT in 2013.
While other tuna RFMOs have adopted tuna catch retention measures, ICCAT has not taken steps to do the same. ISSF encourages the adoption of a comprehensive catch retention measure for all tuna.
Other improvements addressed in the ISSF position statement include adopting targets consistent with SCRS advice for albacore and bluefin tuna to allow stocks to continue to rebuild. ISSF also applauds the successful first meeting of the Standing Working Group for Enhancing the Dialogue between Fisheries Scientists and Managers (SWGSM) in 2014 and now urges the Commission to take this work into consideration for the establishment of target and limit reference points.
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