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South Africa Intends To Board IUU Tuna Vessels On The High Seas

South African fishing patrol vessels are likely to start boarding and inspecting suspected IUU tuna fishing vessels on the high seas in order to help in international tuna conservation activities. The country’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, announced the intentions on the sidelines of the ICCAT meeting yesterday.


In her address to the 23rd Regular Meeting for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna that commenced yesterday, Joemat-Pettersson called for ICCAT to tighten up on tuna catches. She suggested that tougher measures should include the boarding of vessels on high seas to inspect illegal catches. 

She said: “We are in negotiations for the use of our ships. We are also requesting that every African state on the coast belongs to this conservation drive.”

The high seas are any water areas that do not lie in the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of countries. Ships sailing in the high seas generally lie under the jurisdiction of the flag state. However, when a vessel is involved in criminal acts such as illegal fishing operations or piracy, any nation can exercise universal jurisdiction no matter where the crime took place.

Joemat-Pettersson outlined that the intentions to exercise this right to help bring a halt to IUU fishing would include the implementation of the bluefin tuna documentation process, which records where the fish was caught, by whom and whether it was caught within quota limits.