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IOTC Knows Little About Volumes Artisanal Tuna Catches

A Performance Review of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) activities concluded that over 50% of total tuna catch of IOTC species is taken by artisanal fisheries.

However, one of the conclusions of the Review was the uncertainty of total catch data provided by the RFMO, which includes those fisheries:

“Some species such as bigeye tuna are caught mainly by the industrial fleets and the current catches are well known. By contrast, a considerable amount of yellowfin tuna and skipjack is caught by artisanal fleets (pole and line, hand line and small longliners or purse seiners) the catch estimates are less reliable”, stated the report.

According to the data provided by the IOTC last January, 62% of all skipjack fished under its jurisdiction was classified as artisanal. So was 34% of yellowfin.

The artisanal attribute of the Indian Ocean was a reason of concern for the Panel performing the review, since, according to them, detailed catch and effort data – including size frequency data – is difficult to obtain from artisanal fleets: “This results in high level of uncertainty concerning the status of many stocks under the IOTC mandate, especially the neritic (caught near the surface) tunas”.