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IOTC Failure To Follow Science First Challenge For ISSF

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is focusing its current efforts on Indian Ocean yellowfin conservation measures after the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC) did not enact measures at its meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

“IOTC member nations did not follow the yellowfin conservation advice of its Science Committee,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson.

ISSF board members will determine how best to address the issue of Indian Ocean yellowfin conservation at their meeting later this month, with input from the ISSF Science Committee.

The IOTC was presented with proposals to address yellowfin conservation from both the European Union and Australia. The Commission’s own Performance Review Panel warned existing conservation measures have not prevented the stock from being what the IOTC Science Committee labeled, “very close to an overfished state, or already overfished, and the fishing pressure in recent years has exceeded the optimal level.”

“ISSF exists to support the conservation mission of RFMOs like the IOTC which often times find member nations failing to follow science-based recommendations that address the critical need for sustainability,” Jackson said.  “ISSF’s mission is to serve as a catalyst among the tuna industry, nongovernmental environmental community and the scientific community to achieve a future where the oceans resources are managed sustainably.”

The Bali meeting also made it clear that data gaps are creating difficulties for RFMOs, particularly the IOTC. According to the IOTC Science Committee, “low levels of reporting directly affect the reliability of the assessments conducted by the working parties.” ISSF is committed to helping all RFMOs fill in those gaps.
“ISSF respects the role science has in conservation,” Jackson said. “We’re hopeful that the next time the world’s RFMO leaders are all in the same room, they will address the critical areas of conservation and data collection together.”