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South Africa Gets Serious On Tuna Agreements

The cabinet of ministers was in favor of South Africa’s complete adherence to three major international agreements. Two of the agreements focused on the conservation of tuna and the third on fishing from the United Nations.

The Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa explained in a statement that to be a contracting party to the agreements will allow South Africa to have a vote on issues related to the local responsible fisheries and sustainable supply. The country may also benefit economically from the more generous fishing agreements.

One of the agreements related to tuna is associated with the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), which controls and regulates the management of local yellowfin tuna and tuna-related species. By signing the agreement, South Africa will have more access to Indian Ocean resources. It is hoped that, working together with Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania and Mozambique, the country will be able to develop and improve local fishing resources.

The second agreement regarding tuna comes from Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), an intergovernmental organization responsible for the management of southern bluefin tuna. This species is valuable and has been considerably overfished and exploited. Currently bluefin tuna in on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) list of critically endangered fish.

By becoming a full member to this agreement, South Africa’s total catch quota will be slightly increased. It is hoped that local fisheries will raise their revenue from USD 15 million to USD 60.3 million per year.

Finally, the “FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing” is aimed at overcoming the problem of IUU which is known to have strong negative impact on African revenues obtained by fishing activities. This represents a threat to the sustainable management of fisheries.

Through this agreement, the signatory Member States undertake to implement agreed measures and sanctions and adequate penalties to control the problem more effectively.