14 – 21 November, 2022
It is vital that progress is made on the sustainable management of Atlantic Ocean tuna stocks and ecosystems at ICCAT this year through decisive, precautionary action in line with scientific advice.
During the June meeting of Panel 1, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) highlighted that, whilst the bigeye tuna stock (BET) is showing early signs of recovery, the Commission should still adopt a precautionary approach. He emphasised uncertainties in the stock assessment, with a caution that positive signals may reflect recent adjustments to parameters as much as, or more than, the actual stock condition. Recognising this need for precaution, while seeking to ensure fisheries management that is both sustainable and equitable, IPNLF urge ICCAT to achieve the following:
The Atlantic yellowfin tuna stock currently has a TAC of 110,000 t, this has been exceeded for a number of consecutive years, most notably in 2020 when catches reached 149,202 t, 35% over TAC. In order to prevent deterioration of the stock into an overfished state, IPNLF encourage the Commission to:
Noting that the planned yellowfin tuna stock assessment is provisionally planned for 2023, IPNLF urge the Commission to ensure this stock is assessed in 2023 in order to inform timely conservation and management decisions for this stock.
The SCRS has clearly and regularly emphasised the impacts of drifting FADs (dFADs) on both the bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks, due to the increased juvenile catches they causes. With this in mind, IPNLF urges the Commission to:
It is important to note that all CPCs should have submitted their historical FAD set data to the SCRS by the 31st of July this year, in line with paragraph 31 of Recommendation 21/01. According to PA1_504, prepared by the Secretariat, 22 fleets submitted data for the year 2021, and some historical data is still lacking. We remind the Commission that the current Recommendation states that CPCs which do not report such data “shall be prohibited from setting on FADs until such data have been received by the SCRS”. We also highlight Paragraph 40 which states that “as of January 2021 all FADs deployed are non-entangling, and constructed from biodegradable materials” and the request for annual reports to illustrate steps undertaken to comply with these provisions. IPNLF urges the Commission to review the status of FAD data and to urgently address non-compliance that directly compromises science based management.
After working hard for a number of years to rebuild Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks, and working particularly hard this year on the bluefin Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE), the Commission now faces an opportunity to better secure the future of these stocks. In line with ICCAT’s roadmap to the development of the MSE and HCRs for Atlantic tuna stocks, IPNLF urge the Commission to adopt a Management Procedure for Atlantic Bluefin tuna stocks to inform sustainable TACs for these stock species.
After the successful adoption of a retention ban for north Atlantic mako sharks in 2021, IPNLF urge the Commission to maintain this measure. Furthermore, noting the 2019 stock assessment for the south Atlantic mako shark stock, which highlighted that the southern stock could soon face similar issues to that of the north stock, IPNLF supports the proposal put forward by the EU (PA4_804) to preemptively include the South Atlantic mako shark stock within the retention ban for the coming years.
In addition, IPNLF also urge ICCAT to adopt a fins naturally attached policy on all shark species without exceptions.