The 26th Regular Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) was held 18 to 25 November 2019, at Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
The meeting resulted in the adoption of a new multi-annual conservation and management program for tropical tunas.
The Commission agreed a TAC for bigeye tuna of 62,500 t and 61,500 t, for 2020 and 2021, respectively. The annual TAC for yellowfin will remain at the current level of 110,000 t.
In addition, in order to reduce the fishing mortality of juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna, it was also agreed to reduce the maximum number of fish aggregating devices (FADs) deployed by vessels and to prohibit the use of FADs for two and three months in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
In early 2020, the Commission will discuss additional measures for the multi-annual conservation and management program for tropical tunas.
Several conservation and management measures were adopted for sharks, with special attention being dedicated to the shortfin mako. The Commission could not reach a consensus on the annual catch limits, but agreed to impose restrictions for vessels to catch and retain on board, trans-ship, or land North Atlantic shortfin mako. The Commission also agreed to hold an intersessional meeting in 2020 to develop and propose additional measures towards achieving conservation and management objectives for this stock.
For the first time ICCAT established annual TACs for blue shark, of 39,102 t and 28,923 t for North and South Atlantic, respectively.
ICCAT also agreed new rebuilding programs for blue marlin and white marlin/roundscale spearfish, with annual limits of 1,670 t for blue marlin and 355 t for white marlin/roundscale spearfish, beginning in 2020.
The Compliance Committee noted that some improvements had been seen overall in compliance and that progress had been made on a strategic plan for future meetings, and that agreement had been reached on continuation of the work on the online reporting system.
Additional MCS measures were also taken by the Commission on vessel sightings and important improvements were made in observer safety.
In addition, the Commission officers received a second two-year mandate, however, it was agreed that the European Union and the United States of America will swap chairships, with the European Union chairing the Conservation and Management Measures Compliance Committee (COC) and the United States chairing the Permanent Working for the Improvement of ICCAT Statistics and Conservation Measures (PWG).
26th ICCAT Regular Meeting Recommendations and Resolutions
• Recommendation on fishes considered to be tuna and tuna-like species or oceanic, pelagic, and highly migratory elasmobranchs
• Recommendation to continue the development of an integrated online reporting system
• Recommendation on vessel sightings
• Recommendation on protecting the health and safety of observers in ICCAT’s regional observer programs
• Recommendation on abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear
• Recommendation o replace Recommendation 16-01 by ICCAT on a multi-annual conservation and management programme for tropical tunas
• Recommendation amending the Recommendation 18-02 establishing a multi-annual management plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean
• Recommendation amending the Recommendation 16-12 on management measures for the conservation of the North Atlantic blue shark caught in association with ICCAT fisheries
• Recommendation on management measures for the conservation of South Atlantic blue shark caught in association with ICCAT fisheries
• Recommendation to establish rebuilding programs for blue marlin and white marlin/roundscale spearfish
• Recommendation amending the Recommendation 17-02 by ICCAT for the conservation of North Atlantic swordfish
• Recommendation on the conservation of North Atlantic stock of shortfin mako caught in association with ICCAT fisheries
• Resolution regarding participation by fishing entities under the amended ICCAT Convention
• Resolution on harmonisation and improved observer safety
• Resolution amending the Resolution 18-11 by ICCAT establishing a pilot program for the voluntary exchange of inspection personnel in fisheries managed by ICCAT
• Resolution establishing an ICCAT Working Group on Bluefin Tuna Control and Traceability Measures
• Resolution on development of initial management objectives for North Atlantic swordfish
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas oversees the conservation and management of a variety of Atlantic marine species, including tunas, swordfish, marlin, and sharks, and adopts measures to minimize bycatch of turtles and seabirds associated with these fisheries. This responsibility is shared among ICCAT’s 52 members.
source: International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas