Yellowfin tuna Photo: NOAAYellowfin tuna Photo: NOAA

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) has failed to introduce measures to help conserve the region’s overfished yellowfin tuna stock, says the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).

ISSF and its stakeholders called for immediate action by the IOTC at its special session held virtually on 8 to 12 March. According to ISSF, the session ignored advice from the IOTC’s own scientific commission and failed in its one goal to agree an evidence-based, enforceable plan to ensure the long-term sustainable management of the species.

“We are disappointed that, once again, the parties to the IOTC could not agree on a measure for managing such a critical resource,” said the ISSF. “Delaying action until the June 2021 commission meeting risks further stock declines at a time when some nations already have exceeded existing inadequate yellowfin catch limits — and other parties are exempted from catch limits altogether,” it continued.

ISSF is calling on IOTC parties to work together between now and June to develop a science-based and enforceable conservation measure to rebuild the Indian Ocean yellowfin stock in two generations.

ISSF said it will continue to pursue all opportunities to help guide IOTC and all tuna RFMOs, member governments, industry, vessels, FIPs and NGOs on achieving sustainable global tuna stocks and ecosystems.

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