The Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) and the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPLNF) have urged the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to develop a strategy for restoring the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna stock and improving the management of fish aggregating devices (FADs) to minimize juvenile tropical tuna catches.
The two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) said in a statement last week that these steps should be implemented during the upcoming 5-day virtual IOTC session, which is scheduled to start on June 7th.
According to the NGOs, yellowfin tuna mortality increased by 20% as compared to the target reference point, while spawning biomass decreased by 17%.
Earlier this year, at an IOTC meeting, a plan supported by the two NGOs was adopted to reduce the total allowable catch, a proposal made by Maldives, and the two organizations are now supporting the country’s new proposal.
Maldives has now submitted a revised plan with a larger total allowable catch (TAC) of 383,000 MT. The proposal also includes a large catch “buffer” of over 20,000 MT by granting 2,000 MT catch limits to IOTC members who have previously fished very little or not at all.
BLUE and IPNLF anticipate a 15% decrease in yellowfin tuna catches relative to levels in 2019 with the implementation of the IOTC’s first TAC for yellowfin tuna under the revised plan.
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, which has also called for action to restrict yellowfin tuna catches, yellowfin tuna has been described as overfished since 2015, and the skipjack catch quota set by the harvest control rule has been surpassed every year since its implementation. Pew also urged IOTC to enhance transshipment tracking, reporting, and management in the Indian Ocean.