The 27th annual meeting of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), that took place from 8 to 12 May 2023 in Mauritius, delivered some important results for sustainable fisheries in the Indian Ocean and concluded in the adoption of 9 important conservation and management measure.
- A measure has been introduced on fishing for the bigeye tuna species which limits its catch for all countries fishing in the area to ensure that the global quota is not exceeded. In addition, special provisions have been agreed to allow coastal states to develop their fisheries activities. Both of these innovations were welcomed by the EU, while no agreements were reached on other tuna species, in particular yellowfin and skipjack tuna
Another success is the adoption of the EU’s long-standing proposal to improve the IOTC compliance process. The IOTC has finally accepted this important step forward to ensure that fishing activities are conducted in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and conservation measures.
Another important step has been taken to safeguard the ecosystem and protect seabirds and cetaceans from the negative impacts of tuna fishing.
Continuing with its decisions, the IOTC adopted an EU co-sponsored proposal for the adoption of Minimum Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) or Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) standards.
On the other hand, no agreements were found on the management of drifting fish aggregation devices (FADs). The EU regrets this above all because it believes that measures on the management of FAD are necessary and continues to issue an open invitation to the members of the IOTC to start a dialogue to find a solution acceptable to all, which would have a real impact on the ground. It also regrets that the EU proposal to establish a regime for the detention and inspection of ships on the high seas could not be adopted, despite having very broad support. We will try to find a solution before the next annual meeting
These were broadly speaking the novelties discussed in this meeting which took place in Mauritius