The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) is holding its annual meeting in Agadir, Morocco, from 12 to 19 of November 2012. In this annual meeting the European Commission, which represents the EU, is hoping to build on the success of last year’s negotiations which included decisions on multi-annual management measures for Mediterranean Swordfish and Tropical Tuna along with protection measures for silky shark and seabirds based on best available science.
This year’s priority will be Bluefin tuna as the multi-annual recovery plan is due for review. The stock assessment for Bluefin tuna has shown early positive signs of recovery although little is currently known about this trend. It will therefore be important to keep management measures for this valuable species stable in order to ensure recovery and sustained yield for fishermen for the future. However this should not prevent ICCAT from strengthening the management and control part of the recovery plan, such as putting in place the electronic catch documentation system for Bluefin tuna where necessary.
At this year’s meeting the EU will also continue to propose measures for the protection of sharks including porbeagle and shortfin mako and supporting comprehensive measures for the conservation of Blue and White Marlin.
Another priority will be to further strengthen the management and control system of ICCAT. The EU hopes that its proposals for an in-port inspection scheme and for the traceability of other ICCAT species will be adopted. This should lead to better compliance with agreed rules in the combat against Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated fishing (IUU). Furthermore, by remaining a driver in the compliance assessment process, the EU intends to ensure that rules are properly respected.
Finally, a reliance on scientific data remains paramount on the EU’s agenda and ICCAT must deliver on the Best Science Recommendation adopted last year.