21 June 2019: Indian Ocean tuna fishing nations have failed to accept their own scientists’ advice on yellowfin tuna at the annual Indian Ocean Tuna Commission meeting in Hyderabad – four years after first being warned that the stock was headed for collapse.
An overall catch reduction of about 10 per cent was agreed, against scientific advice that catches needed to be cut by a quarter.
Charles Clover, Executive Director of Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), said: “By ignoring the advice of their own scientists, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission has once again demonstrated that it is one of the most dysfunctional UN institutions and desperately in need of reform. The member nations should be sharing the pain of catch reductions made necessary by their incompetent management, rather than avoiding it and making stock collapse more likely.
“The EU continues to help itself to a share of the catch that is against its own regulations and the UN Law of the Sea. Retailers now need to step up and ask questions about the adverse influence of processors such as Princes and John West and nations guilty of illegal and excessive fishing such as Spain.”
Professor Callum Roberts, University of York, said: “The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission has flunked the most important decision of its meeting: to cut fishing pressure on yellowfin tuna in line with scientific advice. By adopting a token 10 per cent reduction in quota, justified by a longer period for tuna recovery, they risk further decline of the stock and long-term economic misery. Such blatant mismanagement, played out year after year, will lead to the closure of the fishery when the inevitable collapse comes.”
The so-called recovery plan has now been extended from 2024 to 2027.
Please click here to read BLUE’s case study on the management of yellowfin tuna by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.
Please click here to read BLUE’s letter to the European Commissioner on Friday 14 June 2019.