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Tuna: EU declares war on illegal fishing

May 8-12 to consider a series of proposals to make the business more sustainable

13, Apr 2023

Tuna fishing, processing and conservation must become more sustainable. This is the goal of a series of proposals developed by the European Union, ahead of the next session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (Iotc) to be held May 8-12, 2023.

The first of the proposals consists of a multi-year plan for tropical tuna management (three species are named in this regard: yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, and skipjack tuna). The IOTC Scientific Committee believes that the current stock status and level of fishing in the Indian Ocean is not sustainable. Such a plan would last for three years and reduce catch levels in line with scientific advice.

Other goals are to ensure the inspection of fishing vessels on the high seas for compliance with IOTC rules and, most importantly, to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities, considered the greatest threat to sustainable fisheries management.

The Compliance Committee will be the body to support coastal developing countries to better monitor their fleets, ports and waters under their jurisdiction. The EU's goal is to improve obligations that are technically difficult to implement, clarify unclear provisions, and align the text with scientific advice.

The proposal addresses all relevant aspects of the management of drift fish aggregating devices (FADs), from marking, to combating plastic pollution, to limiting the number of FADs.

«The EU is committed to the sustainable management of fisheries worldwide, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries» Virginijus Sinkevičius reiterated in a note. «With our proposals for the IOTC, we aim to improve tuna conservation and drastically reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities».

The commissioner advances the proposal for a «revised resolution on drift fish aggregation devices as we believe that some provisions of the resolution adopted in February are unworkable and unclear and not based on scientific advice. The EU – Sinkevičius concludes – hopes that at the next session IOTC members will work cooperatively and through consensus».

EFA News - European Food Agency

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Brussels, Belgium, 12/04/2023 09:14 a.m.

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