The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) applauds the decision taken by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to adopt a harvest control rule (HCR) for skipjack tuna caught in the Indian Ocean. This agreement will help provide a sustainable future for the region’s coastal communities and this multi-billion dollar tuna fishery.
The proposal sets pre-agreed management measures that aim to keep the skipjack population at healthy levels, while ensuring the fishery itself is profitable and accessible to all. Unlike most fishery management measures taken at the international level, this measure is not intended to restrict or reduce current fishing. Since the skipjack population is currently healthy, the measure simply outlines pre-agreed steps that will be taken if the fishery becomes unsustainable in the future.
“The adoption of this measure paves the way for a new era in tuna fisheries management,” says Adam Baske, Director and Policy & Outreach for the International Pole & Line Foundation. “This is a common sense approach. It protects the resource and the fishing communities that depend on it.”
The new measure received considerable support from IOTC member states, highlighting the united commitment from coastal and distant water fishing nations to maintain healthy tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean.
Special credit for the landmark decision goes to the Maldives, one of the smallest countries in the world, which on Thursday 26 May presented a proposal to the IOTC calling for the establishment of a precautionary management framework for skipjack tuna. This has been in the works for several years under the leadership of the Maldives, and the proposal received an unprecedented level of support from other coastal states in the region – in the end 14 countries joined as co-sponsors. IPNLF was also extremely encouraged by the level of support from the industry, NGOs and market players, including many of its own supply chain Members.