IOTC publishes 2021 yellowfin tuna catch limits

Published on
January 8, 2021

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) has published a new list of yellowfin tuna catch limit allocations for 2021.

A statement by IOTC Executive Secretary Christopher O’Brien said the commission is focused on the rebuilding of the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna stock, hence the annual allocation of catch limits for affiliated members under the organization’s Resolution 19/01.

O’Brien said the 2021 catch limits concern fishing vessels “targeting tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean of 24 [meters] overall length and over, and those under 24 [meters] if they fish outside the exclusive economic zone of their flag state, within the IOTC area of competence.”

A limit of 177,941 metric tons (MT) of yellowfin has been allocated to fleets from eight IOTC member regions, including the European Union, Seychelles, Maldives, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka.

The catch limits, O’Brien said, are calculated for the fleets deploying purse seine, long-line, gillnet, bait boat, and handline gear types.

The E.U. purse-seine fleet has been allocated the highest share of the quota at of 76,258 MT, below its annual catch of 91,405 MT in 2014. The E.U.’s accumulated catch for 2017, 2018, and 2019 was 234,520 MT, nearly 1,437 MT above the 233,083 MT that its fleet was allowed for the three years. Hence, for 2021, under IOTC Resolution 19/01, the IOTC has limited the E.U.'s catch limit to 76,258 MT of yellowfin tuna.

Determination of the yellowfin catch limits for all the other seven IOTC parties has been based on 15 percent reductions of their 2014 or 2015 catch volumes if they exceed 5,000 MT, and also the cumulated catch volumes for 2017, 2018, and 2019 compared to what they had been allocated for the three years in accordance with Paragraph 13a of Resolution 19/01.

O’Brien has said the United Kingdom, meanwhile, “has deposited an instrument of accession to the agreement for the establishment of the IOTC, at the Office of the (FAO) Director-General.” He said the agreement entered into force on 22 December, 2020.

“On behalf of the Secretariat, I would like to welcome the United Kingdom into the IOTC community,” O’Brien said.

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