Maldives has proposed Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) members to reduce Yellowfin Tuna fishing by 14%.
IOTC maintains the stock database on Yellowfin Tunas in the Indian Ocean. Maldives’ proposal came just before a special summit was set to be hosted between member countries.
The summit will discuss ways to maintain sustainable Yellowfin Tuna fishing and the challenges faced to control fishing of Skipjack Tuna in the Indian Ocean.
IOTC’s Vice Chairperson and Maldives’ Director General of Fisheries Minister, Adam Ziyad stated that the stock count of Yellowfin Tuna in the Indian Ocean is critically low and measures need to be taken to control the over-fishing. He further stated that Maldives will reduce Yellowfin Tuna fishing by 11% as part of the proposal.
Global Tuna Alliance (GTA), an NGO that promote sustainable fishing, stated that Maldives’ proposal at IOTC will help to reduce Yellowfin Tuna fishing by 14% compared to 2014.
Moreover, European Union (EU) members also suggested measures to reduce over-fishing in the Indian Ocean and promote sustainability. EU countries are the largest consumers of Yellowfin Tuna in the Indian Ocean. More than Maldives. However, EU members stated that they will only reduce the fishing up to a mere 6%.
Ziyad also stated that EU members need to put more effort into maintaining a sustainable stock count of Tunas in the Indian Ocean and the 6% reduction offered by the EU is just not enough.
Maldives’ proposal at IOTC has received backing from countries such as Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania.
However, the World Wildlife Fund’s Blue Marine Foundation criticized Maldives and the EU’s proposal by stating there are no policies regarding the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD). The use of FAD risks over-fishing of juvenile Tunas and thus, affecting the total tuna population.