WWF blasts ITOC


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
April 2, 2009

The World Wildlife Fund on Friday called this week's 13th annual Indian Ocean Tuna Commission meeting in Bali, Indonesia, a failure because the group did not set quotas for the fisheries it manages and did not adopt effective measures to prevent overfishing and address shark finning.

The IOTC was expected to consider a resolution strengthening management of the yellowfin tuna fishery based on recommendations from the IOTC Science Committee. A recent report by an ITOC panel warned that existing fishing rules "have not prevented the stock from being overfished."

"Most of the world's large tuna fisheries are poorly managed by bodies that commission scientific assessments and then set catch quotas that ignore them, but the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission is the most dysfunctional of all," said Miguel Jorge, WWF International's marine director. "Another stumbling block in the negotiations has been EU intransigence on large Spanish and French fleets maintaining their swordfish catch levels at dangerously high levels."

"Many member States appear to be operating on a ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil' basis that supports continuing rampant non-compliance with even a lax management regime," added Jorge. "No one knows what is really going on, few seem to care, states report their catches late or not at all and the scientists who are supposed to be the cornerstone of the system are doing the best they can with the scraps of data they are given."

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