28th Regular Meeting of ICCAT

IPNLF Position Statement

13-20th November 2023, New Cairo, Egypt


During 2023, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has spent much time deliberating and discussing measures to manage tropical tunas during four intersessional meetings of Panel 1. It is concerning that discussions have taken up so much time while IPNLF believes ICCAT will have to show more ambition and determination to ensure the sustainability of tuna fishing and the preservation of Atlantic ocean ecosystems for future generations than we have seen recently. IPNLF urges the Commission to address the following priorities: 


Sustainable, robust management

Total Allowable Catch (TAC) allocations for bigeye (BET) and yellowfin (YFT) tunas have been exceeded multiple times in recent years. Whilst the BET stock may no longer be subject to overfishing, it remains overfished and should be given time to recover before it faces increased fishing pressure. The status of the YFT stock remains unclear, but it’s concerning that since the last stock assessment in 2019, the TAC has been consistently exceeded by as much as 35% in some years. This situation ultimately jeopardises the future of these critical stocks, fisheries, and the livelihoods they support.

 IPNLF asks to:


Supply vessels

Supply vessels increase the capacities of the purse seine fisheries to damage tuna stocks and ecosystems, with those fleets being the significant drivers of the overfishing of multiple tuna stocks. As a result of their negative impacts, supply vessels have been banned in both the WCPFC and IATTC through capacity management and conservation measures and have also been limited at the IOTC. The lack of regulations for these vessels in the Atlantic Ocean is driving concerns for sustainability, traceability and compliance monitoring.


 IPNLF asks to:


Equitable allocation

IPNLF believes that equitable allocation to meet the rights and needs of all nations, especially developing coastal states representing impoverished communities and small-scale fisheries, should not be conditional upon increased catches imposed upon an already overfished stock. Equity should be proactively, inherently and unavoidably incorporated within all RFMO allocation mechanisms.

 IPNLF asks to:


Effective FAD management

Measures on drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (dFADs) implemented at ICCAT have already appeared to be effective in initiating recovery of the bigeye tuna stock, mainly through reducing fishing pressure upon juveniles as expected. Analyses and projections presented during the IOTC’s recent 5th Working Group on FADs showed that purse seine dFAD closures are the most effective opportunity for recovering multiple tropical tuna stocks. Therefore, given the vast array of adverse ecological impacts driven by dFADs, the Commission should take all possible measures to manage dFADs effectively and mitigate their negative impacts.


 IPNLF asks to:



Conserve the yellowfin tuna stock.

The Atlantic yellowfin tuna stock currently has a TAC of 110,000 t, which has been exceeded for several consecutive years, most notably in 2020, when catches reached 149,202 t, 35% over the TAC. IPNLF recommends that the Commission take steps to prevent the stock from deteriorating into an overfished state and respond accordingly to any advice from the SCRS.


 IPNLF asks to: