Bluefin tuna: joint intervention of NGOs at ICCAT
This is a pivotal time for ICCAT. Only last year the Commission began to set the eastern bluefin quota fully in line with the scientific advice. Last year’s update of the stock assessment included for the first time signs of recovery of the eastern population—a hopeful sign that ICCAT’s new commitment to science-based management in the East may be bearing fruit.
In its 2013 recommendations, ICCAT scientific committee - the SCRS - clearly concluded that they cannot offer robust advice to justify increasing the eastern quota. The SCRS is not in a position to estimate the speed and magnitude of this trend and asks for a period of stabilization of the main management regulations to better estimate them.
The international community is watching. Just five years ago, ICCAT was called “an international disgrace” for its management of eastern bluefin tuna. ICCAT will again threaten its credibility if this year it seeks to increase the quota despite clear advice to the contrary. ICCAT must exercise precaution and follow the scientific advice.
This is not the time to renegotiate the eastern quota. A 2014 TAC of 13,400 mt has already been established in line with the scientific advice, and we are hopeful that an improved stock assessment that addresses existing uncertainties will be available soon. Until that time, ICCAT must be patient and ensure that decisions made this week are in line with scientific advice, and that they do not reverse recent progress and threaten a full recovery of the population.
For similar reasons, an increase in the TAC for the West stock is not scientifically justified whatsoever and should be absolutely avoided. SCRS is clear this year at this regard.
For further information / media requests: Chantal MENARD, Communications Manager: + 39 346 235 7481 or + 27 (0)78 964 984.