Coastal states coalesce for sustainable tuna in the Indian Ocean
The keynote speech by Dr Hussain R. Hassan, the Government of Maldives’ Minister of State for Fisheries and Agriculture, encouraged other coastal states to speak out boldly during the meeting. He said: “The responsibility of tuna management is in our hands. It is not in any other hands and we can lead our own destiny to maximise the benefit of the tuna resource to our communities while ensuring sustainable fish stocks for generations to come”.
“It is inspiring that such a culturally diverse group of people came together for the long term sustainability of shared resources,” said Daniel Suddaby, tuna manager of WWF´s Smart Fishing Initiative. “Participants expressed appreciation for the opportunity to achieve a common understanding of the relevant issues and available management options. They also agreed to build on the advantages of this meeting and to bind the coastal states together by committing to two future strategic and targeted coastal states meetings. Sri Lanka and Mauritius stepped up to host these meetings.”
The outcomes of the meeting exceeded WWF’s expectations and provides encouraging signs to all those working toward sustainable fishing of Indian Ocean tuna. Experts presented on areas including the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) process, harvest strategies, rights based management and aspects of international law relevant to the development of a fisheries management framework, which would need to cover both national and international waters.
The success of the coastal states meeting was due to the commitment of Government officials, fisheries managers and scientists from Indian Ocean coastal states as well as experts from Australia and the United Kingdom to collaboratively and openly learn about key elements of regional tuna fisheries management and discuss the future direction of Indian Ocean tuna management.