ICCAT cancels annual meeting, SCRS plenary due to COVID-19

This year’s International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) annual meeting, as well as the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) plenary meeting, have been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a letter from the organization’s commission chairman, Raul Delgado.

The SCRS meeting was to be held from September to October, and the annual meeting was to be held in November.

Delgado wrote that the next regular meeting of the commission would be held next November.

Delgado also provided a path forward for stakeholders in light of the cancellation.

“Several [entities] have expressed their concerns, which I echo, regarding the need for new measures in relation to some species, most importantly, but not limited to, tropical tuna species,” he wrote.

Noting that proposed measures can be carried over for a year if there is agreement on them, he suggested that entities “start working on these issues now.” He encouraged that the list of measure be as short as possible, “while ensuring the continued and sustained management of ICCAT species.”

Delgado proposed that the chair of each subsidiary body work with the members of the body to meet deadlines for first drafts of measures for species requiring amendment. If the measure is not dependent on advice from the SCRS, 31 July, 2020, has been suggested. Alternatively, if scientific advice from SCRS is needed, the proposed date is 15 October, 2020.

“This first draft will serve as a basis for electronic discussion and I sincerely hope that all measures can be adopted by consensus,” Delgado wrote.

The ICCAT is an “intergovernmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas.” Its headquarters are in Madrid, Spain, and the commission includes 53 countries that serve as contracting parties as well as six countries that have been granted “cooperator” status.

Photo courtesy of Europêche


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