Joint NGO Statement supported by a number of NGOs, including Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF), International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), Global Tuna Alliance (GTA), Earthworm Foundation and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Given the consistent overfishing and overfished state of the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna stock since 2015, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission held a Special Session last week to agree measures to rebuild the stock.
Despite the urgency of the situation, the Commission did not agree a pathway to follow its own scientific advice and the meeting closed with no agreed mechanism to effectively rebuild the stock and no reductions in catches.
In advance of the meeting, we all called on the IOTC members to reduce catches and fishing mortality to a level that will rebuild the stock of yellowfin tuna over the period of two generations. Several NGOs also called on members for support to adopt robust complementary measures that will support yellowfin tuna rebuilding, addressing all sources of fishing mortality.
Instead, the members only agreed to delay the decision, again, until the next meeting of the IOTC in June.
Meanwhile, the overfishing will continue and all parties will ultimately suffer.
We, the undersigned, express our bitter disappointment with the lack of tangible outcomes and the unwillingness of IOTC members to compromise sufficiently on the tabled proposals.
We will continue to engage with IOTC Members and other stakeholders to seek agreement on an effective rebuilding plan at the June meeting.