The Atlantic Ocean is home to a number of one-by-one fisheries, including pole-and-line fisheries in the Azores, Brazil, Senegal, South Africa, St Helena, and Spain. The success and future of these fisheries and fishing communities relies heavily on responsible international management as the stocks are highly migratory. This week, fisheries managers from more than 50 countries will meet in Vilamoura, Portugal to decide on management measures for tuna fisheries in this region. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) convenes today, and IPNLF is there for the first time as an official Observer organization.
At this year’s ICCAT Meeting, we want to encourage countries to adopt management measures that, together, will strengthen the framework for sustainable tuna fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean, and ensure that the most sustainable and socially responsible fisheries are in a position to flourish into the future. Based on the recent progress at ICCAT, as well as the scientific advice, IPNLF has a core set of recommendations that we will be promoting. Specifically, we urge progress in the following areas:
- End overfishing and adoption of rebuilding plans for overfished tuna stocks
- Establishment of reference points and harvest control rules for all major tuna species that aim to avoid adverse impacts on stocks and recognizing the interests of coastal communities that rely on the fisheries for food security and livelihoods
- Improve data collection and regulation of supply vessels and fishing gears that negatively impact coastal fishing communities, including drifting fish aggregating devices (dFADs)
- Adopt measures that will effectively reduce bycatch and protect endangered, threatened, or protected species, including sharks, seabirds, cetaceans, and turtles.
IPNLF’s policy statement will be post to the ICCAT meeting website, and we will work with our Members and delegates throughout the week to promote responsible management of tuna fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean. The one-by-one tuna fisheries in the Atlantic support local livelihoods in isolated and developing economies, enhance food security, and provide a global supply chain with responsibly harvested tuna. Our goal will be to ensure these fisheries, and the communities that depend on them, thrive into the future.