bigeye tuna fishing The IPNLF has released its Position Statement on bigeye tuna catch allocation. Photo: IPNLF

The International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) has urged the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to stand up for small fisheries regarding bigeye tuna fishing opportunities.

IPNLF wants ICCAT to recognise the disproportionate burden faced by small-scale, low-impact fisheries when considering potential catch limits in in upcoming discussions about the allocation of bigeye tuna fishing opportunities.

ICCAT is convening from 1-3 September for its second intersessional meeting to further the management of overfished bigeye tuna and a key focus of this meeting will be on the allocation approach to support improved compliance with the total allowable catch (TAC).

“While rebuilding of the Atlantic bigeye tuna stock is crucial, it is important that small-scale fisheries’ critical contributions to coastal States livelihoods are recognised while the management of tropical tuna fisheries (ICCAT Recommendation 19-02) is further improved,” stressed IPNLF.

IPNLF supports ICCAT’s own Allocation Criteria (Res. 15-13) being duly applied when developing a new allocation mechanism.

The foundation said it would support an approach similar to the polluter pays principle, whereby fleets causing the most damage to the stock and ecosystem take the greatest cuts in their allocation.

“This will encourage greater accountability and drive more responsible fishing amongst fleets imposing the greatest impacts upon these internationally shared fish stocks. After all, small-scale fisheries catching tuna through one-by-one methods have not driven the overfishing of highly migratory and productive tuna populations, but they do face the most dire consequences if stocks collapse.”

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