Let's maintain the momentum: Companies, fishers and NGOs urge IOTC to take action

IPNLF and its Member network call for IOTC to build upon recent successes and further enhance the management of stocks and reduce bycatch in Indian Ocean’s tuna fisheries.
IPNLF and its Member network call upon the IOTC to improve management of Indian Ocean tuna fisheries

The call comes ahead of this year’s annual session (S21), which convenes in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on 22-26 May. At this pivotal forum, fisheries managers from 31 member countries must act to conserve the region’s multi-billion dollar tuna fisheries and protect the coastal communities reliant upon them.

2016 was regarded as a breakthrough year for the IOTC with the adoption of the world’s first harvest control rule (HCR) for skipjack tuna and the adoption of important measures designed to rebuild yellowfin stocks. It is up to the IOTC to maintain the momentum and take on other pressing issues that threaten the sustainability of Indian Ocean tuna fisheries.

“It is time to take responsible fisheries management up to the next level. Along with our Members, we strongly encourage the development of additional harvest strategies to safeguard these important fisheries and also protect the many communities that depend upon them,” says Adam Baske, Director of Policy & Outreach at IPNLF. “We also strongly discourage any backtracking on the yellowfin rebuilding plan. Instead, we would welcome the further voluntary reduction in fishing effort to speed up the recovery of this stock. ”

Roy Schofield, Managing Director of Maldives Quality Seafood adds, "Let’s seize this opportunity to strengthen the rebuilding plan for Indian Ocean yellowfin stocks. Not only does the health of the ocean depend upon it, but so do the livelihoods of numerous coastal communities that rely on this resource for employment, income and nutrition.”

IPNLF and its Members also want IOTC to take decisive action to reduce impacts on endangered, threatened, and protected (ETP) species by eliminating non-compliant gillnet use, reducing the use of drifting FADs, and banning the use of supply vessels. These activities represent a serious threat to vulnerable species in the Indian Ocean, including marine mammals, sharks and turtles.

"I hope that responsible members of the IOTC will take appropriate action against driftnets, supply boats, large gill nets and also limit the impacts on ETP species for the interest of managing the stocks," says Adnan Ali, Managing Director of Horizon Fisheries, a Maldivian-based fish processing company.

Retailers in the IPNLF network are equally interested in the seeing the IOTC address these management challenges.

“Migros wants to be able to continue supplying our valued customers with sustainable tuna from the Indian Ocean. To be able to do so, Migros believes that it is crucial that management in the Indian Ocean is improved and we therefore urge all delegates to support the necessary actions to ensure healthy tuna stocks and marine ecosystems,” says Sandra Hinni, Fisheries Sustainability Specialist at Migros Group, the largest retailer in Switzerland.

Baske adds, “While some progress has been achieved as direct outcomes from last year’s IOTC meeting, there is a lot more to do. This year’s annual session has the opportunity to build on that momentum and deliver practical improvements that ensure long-term futures for the Indian Ocean tuna fisheries and for all those people and communities that depend upon these hugely important resources. IPNLF and our Member network wish all the member countries a very successful meeting in Indonesia.”

IPNLF’s full Position Statement ahead of the 21st Annual Session of the IOTC is available here.

Notes to Editors

The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) works to develop, support and promote socially and environmentally responsible pole-and-line, handline and troll tuna fisheries around the world. IPNLF’s ambition is to contribute to thriving coastal fisheries, including the people, communities, businesses and seas connected with them. 

As a hub for sustainably-minded organisations, we use the influence of the market to forge change through practical fishery projects and stakeholder cooperation. IPNLF membership is open to organisations involved in the one-by-one caught tuna supply chain. Allied with our Members, IPNLF demonstrates the value of one-by-one caught tuna to consumers, policymakers and throughout the supply chain. We work across science, policy and the seafood sector, using an evidence-based, solutions-focused approach with guidance from our Scientific & Technical Advisory Committee and Board of Trustees.

IPNLF was officially registered in the United Kingdom in 2012 (Charity 1145586), with branch offices in London and the Maldives, and a staff presence in Indonesia.

Contact Details

Jason Holland , Media & Communications Advisor