Conservation Measures Needed to Reverse Overfishing of Indian Ocean Tuna

February 26, 2010 11:20

 Ahead of next week's annual Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) meeting in Busan, Korea, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is calling on nations to ‘adopt and enforce scientifically sound conservation management measures' for yellowfin tuna in order to keep catches at or below 300,000 tons, a level scientists have determined is the maximum that can be fished while still allowing the stock to recover from overfishing, reports with reference to International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.

"This is the recommendation of the IOTC Scientific Committee and we fully support its findings," ISSF President Susan Jackson said. "Countries must recognize that this stock will not recover at the rate it is currently being fished and leadership is needed to prevent yellowfin from declining further."

In 2008 the estimated catch of Indian Ocean yellowfin was 322,500 tons. Scientists warned the Commission prior to last year's annual meeting that yellowfin tuna was being overfished but members failed to enact a management measure to help rebuild the stock.

"We're hopeful nations will act differently this year," Jackson added.

With a limited data available on tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean, Jackson echoed a request of the Commission's scientists that ‘monitoring and data collection be strengthened over the coming year.'

"Even a science-based conservation and management measure could be negatively impacted by a lack of data and monitoring," Jackson said. "Therefore, we are also asking nations fishing in the Indian Ocean to better collect and share data. It is also imperative that governments monitor and enforce compliance once conservation measures are in place."

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