IOTC committee concerned with low levels of compliance
The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) Compliance Committee has expressed concern with low levels of compliance with the commission’s regulations at its latest meeting.
In response, it has produced several recommendations on how to achieve targets set by IOTC Contracting Parties and Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties (CPCs).
During the 19th session of the committee in May 2022 – and attended by delegates from 25 Contracting Parties and 11 observers and invited experts – the committee observed that within the IOTC, there were low levels of compliance with Resolution 15/02, covering mandatory statistical reporting requirements, and Resolution 17/05, covering the conservation of sharks caught in association with fisheries managed by IOTC.
The committee has recommended that the IOTC should carry out a review of its conservation and management measures alongside subsequent reports that point out the challenges encountered during their implementation.
The committee, which was chaired in this session by IOTC Vice-Chair Indra Jaya of Indonesia, proposed the IOTC Secretariat work with IOTC CPCs to provide missing information to complete the records of authorized vessels, and remove from the current records vessels whose periods of authorization have lapsed over the last two years.
Within the next six months, the committee proposed, the IOTC Secretariat should also provide an analysis highlighting problems and possible solutions on the implementation of resolution 19/04, which concerns the IOTC’s records of vessels authorized within its area of competence, so as to guide CPCs in a possible future review.
The committee also recommended adding vessels IND.TN.15.MM.4569 (NOVA) and IND.TN.15.MM.5707 (YONA) to the commission’s Provisional IUU Vessels List covering vessels potentially committing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU), and recommended its Draft IUU Vessels List be reviewed and deferred a pending case for vessel IMUL-A-0195-TCO (MANGALA) for review by the commission.
The committee also deferred to the commission the case of the vessels ISRAR 1, ISRAR 2, and ISRAR 3 “in the light of further information to be provided to the commission by Oman.” The three vessels have already been blacklisted by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas following an investigation by the Environmental Justice Foundation.
Meanwhile, the committee said the IOTC should consider making the use of electronic port-state measures (ePSM) applications mandatory. It should also consider endorsing the Working Party on the Implementation of Conservation and Management Measures’ recommendations, with the goal of having the system implemented before the next IOTC compliance assessment in 2023, but IOTC members encountering problems with the system will be allowed to continue using a paper system.
The committee also recommended that the IOTC clarify paragraph 14 of Resolution 21/01, which calls for an interim plan for rebuilding the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna stock, to read that over-catch be allowed to be split over two years.
Photo courtesy of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission