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IATTC Fails to Improve Tuna and Shark Conservation

Jul. 23/14
FIS.com

The European Commission (EC) has expressed its disappointment with the outcomes of the 87th Annual meeting of the Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), which finished on 18 July in Lima, Peru.

IATTC rejected the proposed EU retention ban on the endangered silky sharks species and fins naturally attached.

The Commission is particularly worried that IATTC could not reach consensus on the adoption of a clear procedure for the appointment of the Executive Director. As of 26 August 2014, the date of expiry of the current Director's mandate, the organisation will be faced with legal uncertainty. This is the result of a number of parties trying to push for the continuation of the current Director's mandate without a clear, transparent and merit based procedure as requested by the EU.

One delegation also opposed the financial and administrative assessment of the organisation proposed by the EU. This would have helped assess the efficiency and transparency of the organisation in view of a full performance review of the IATTC.

In terms of conservation measures, IATTC failed to adopt any conservation measures on bluefin tuna, despite strong scientific advice. It also rejected the proposed EU retention ban on the endangered silky sharks species and fins naturally attached.

The EU proposal on Port State Measure was also rejected at the last moment.

And the IATTC also failed to reach consensus on another proposal which would have strengthened the fight against IUU fishing. Only the EU proposal to strengthen the VMS system and the US proposal to introduce an IMO number for all vessels were adopted at this meeting.

Despite a dedicated workshop being established in April to review the implementation of the 2005 action plan on fleet fishing capacity management in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, no progress was made on the design and adoption of a capacity management plan for the region, the EC laments.

An extraordinary meeting has been called for the end of October to try to solve the stalemate on the election of the Director, adopt a conservation measure on bluefin tuna and make progress on capacity issues.

Photo: Silky shark by Joi Ito