2019 IOTC Nominal Catch Data Published

2019 catches of Indian Ocean skipjack are 16% higher than the harvest control rule, and 2019 catches of overfished Indian Ocean yellowfin are nearly 100,000 mt higher than required to rebuild the stock in two generations.

The 2019 nominal catch data has been published by the IOTC. The data shows that 2019 yellowfin tuna catches have decreased by 3% since 2018 (427,240 mt from 440,834 mt) but still remain higher than 2017 (421,825mt) – this is despite this stock being under a rebuilding plan since 2017.

To put this into perspective, a recent GTA report calculates that a 25% effort catch is required to rebuild the Indian Ocean yellowfin stock in two generations. This would equate to a catch level of approximately 325,000 mt[1]. It is abundantly clear that this stock will not recover unless action is taken at the 24th session of the IOTC in November.

Skipjack tuna catches have decreased by 10% since 2018 (547,248 mt from 609,179 mt) but still remain higher than 2017 (505,486 mt). Importantly, this stock has a harvest control rule (HCR) in place of 470,029 mt (2018-20). The 2019 catch was 16% higher than the HCR.

[1] Ranges from 314,815 – 338,832 mt depending on baseline year (2017 or 2018) and catch limit strategy employed.

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