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ICCAT Meeting Starting Today In South Africa

The importance of the ICCAT annual meeting, kick-started today, has been hugely emphasized by the attendance of European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. The European Commission has highlighted the need for the ICCAT to continue to manage fish stocks in a way that allows for sustainable yield for fishermen and ensures a stable flow of products to the market.

Cape Town, South Africa, holds host to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) annual meeting that started today and will continue until November, 25. Over 500 delegates from over 50 countries have convened for the 23rd regular meeting. The agenda will see the EU highlight the need for ICCAT to continue its path towards better compliance and enforcement to ensure management decisions are fully in line with scientific data.

European Commission, Maria Damanaki, who is attending the meeting said: “The fishing sector has made significant and painful sacrifices over the past years to allow bluefin tuna to recover. The excellent news is that these efforts have started to bear fruit and ICCAT has played a leading role in these green shoots of recovery. However, much work remains to be done and we must all maintain our efforts to keep up the momentum.”

Particular focus will be geared towards the current levels of Eastern and Mediterranean bluefin tuna. Although the EU welcomes the recovery of stocks that started last year, it notes that significant uncertainties have been identified, and current data does not provide a full picture of the magnitude of the restoration. The EU therefore has stated that it supports the scientific committee’s call for stability in the management of the stock.

Issues relating to the increased protection of vulnerable sharks with potential measures to ban shark finning will also be pushed by the EU during the meeting.