Increased protection for two Indian Ocean sharks
New measures agreed at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) annual meeting in Mauritius in May aim to ensure that certain vulnerable species are protected from tuna fishery impacts and able to replenish their numbers. Rulings require that white-tip sharks are to be released unharmed if possible, while purse seine nets can no longer be set around whale sharks and cetaceans.
As proposed by the Maldives, another key success was the adoption of a framework for management decisions to be applied in response to fishery stock status changes, interim target and reference points. The adoption of this protocol will help managers decide how a fishery is performing and adjust the level of fishing accordingly.
Dr Wetjens Dimmlich, Indian Ocean Tuna Coordinator for WWF’s Smart Fishing Initiative, describes these rulings as "an important step towards the implementation of full harvest control rules and paves the way for the development of management tools essential for a sustainable fishery." He also applauds increasing involvement of Indian Ocean developing states in advancing fishery management and that these negotiations mark a “giant leap forward” in IOTC history. Dr Hussian R Hassan, the Maldives Minister of State for Fisheries and Agriculture, concurs and believes that IOTC can now become an effective tuna management organization for the region.
WWF looks forward to continuing work in cooperation with the Maldives Government and other developing coastal states in the region to improve the management and conservation of tuna stocks.
Updated: July 18th, 2013