Eastern Pacific Ocean coastal states work on how to improve tuna management
Representatives from Eastern Pacific Ocean countries that are members of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission gathered in Panama for a discussion on aspects of sustainable tuna fisheries management with world experts in tuna fisheries. As it is happening in similar regional fisheries management organizations around the world, IATTC members have started a new process to implement the precautionary approach through the adoption of harvest strategies, which provide a clear pre-agreed decision framework about what actions to take the if stocks are declining or need rebuilding or if fishing mortality is excessive. The ideas presented during the workshop will assist coastal states representatives to become more familiar with the principles behind harvest strategies and, therefore, will empower coastal states representatives to meaningfully engage in the process of development of the strategies for key stocks under IATTC management.
The workshop was part of the global project Common Oceans: Sustainable Management of Tuna Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), partially funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), coordinated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and with WWF leading a number of the project outputs. The overarching Common Oceans Tuna project focuses on different components, and the Panama workshop was part of the first component, “supporting implementation of sustainable and efficient fisheries management and fishing practices”. This workshop aimed at supporting the improved understanding of the application of the precautionary approach through harvest strategies by tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations.
Alvin Delgado, Commissioner of Venezuela, who was the Chairman of the IATTC at its 87th Session said: This type of initiatives are very important and enriching, as they intruct us on a new approach to fisheries management, especially for tuna fisheries that, because of their highly migratory nature, depend on the cooperation among multiple states for a proper management. Particularly for the case of IATTC, that in 2016 will adopt new conservation and management measures for 2017 and beyond, to introduce a new approach will be very useful."
Daniel Suddaby, Deputy Leader of WWF’s Smart Fishing Initiative said:
“Government representatives have the opportunity to rebuild tuna stocks that are in trouble, and to maintain those stocks that are relatively healthy. We were pleased to see the delegates’ empowerment strengthen as their technical knowledge increased during the training. WWF is excited to continue the series of training sessions and engaging with other delegates from around the world to improve their ability to effect positive change in the management of tuna fisheries.”
Alejandro Anganuzzi, Global Coordinator of the Common Oceans Tuna Project, at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said: The adoption of harvest strategies will be one of the most radical achievements of the tuna fisheries management in recent years, leading to a more sustainable utilization of these resources and more benefit for coastal communities. We are very encouraged by the enthusiasm demonstrated by the IATTC members during the workshop, and by the excellent organization of WWF, the main project partner in this activity."
Victor Restrepo, Vice President, Science at the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation said:“Harvest strategies that include harvest control rules, reference points and input and output controls are a critical aspect of modern tuna fisheries management. ISSF has consistently partnered with our colleagues at WWF and other stakeholders in advocating such practices across global tuna fisheries. We were therefore pleased to support an opportunity to share ideas, best practices and learnings with those on the front lines of fisheries management, and we look forward to further events as part of the innovative Common Oceans partnership.”