ICCAT 2016 – A CRUCIAL YEAR FOR MEDITERRANEAN SWORDFISH | WWF

ICCAT 2016 – A CRUCIAL YEAR FOR MEDITERRANEAN SWORDFISH

Posted on
07 November 2016


At their 20th special meeting in Vilamoura, Portugal, from November 14-21, 2016, the Contracting Parties to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) will again determine management measures for a range of tunas and tuna-like species. WWF will be present to follow closely the discussions and decisions. ICCAT is where key decisions are made by governments from the whole planet on important fish species such as sharks, tunas and swordfish.

At the ICCAT meeting this year WWF will focus particularly on the status of the Mediterranean swordfish stock and push for the adoption of a recovery plan. The stock has now reached a critical point after more than 30 years of overfishing. See WWF's position for ICCAT on swordfish for more details.

Meanwhile we expect the next stock assessment for the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna to take place in 2017. Until then, we will continue to ask for the quota increase to be maintained according to ICCAT Recommendation 14-04 (20%). See WWF's position for ICCAT on bluefin tuna for more details.

Other important species including sharks will also be addressed during ICCAT. We will focus our efforts on two large key fisheries: Atlantic blue and shortfin mako sharks. These species have been disregarded for many years. Although stocks are apparently not overfished, fisheries of these species are missing any type of basic management scheme. It is therefore urgent to establish the basis for specific long-term management plans, as with any other commercial fishery managed by ICCAT. In particular, as a first step, we ask for precautionary catch limits to be set and for agreement on a road map to design robust multi-annual plans based on strong Harvest Control Rules.

Regarding tropical tuna fisheries big eye tuna, skipjack, yellowfin and taking into account the high fishing pressure on these species, there is the need to develop strong Harvest Control Rules for all tropical tuna fisheries. In particular, efforts must be focused on the mitigation of the impacts of Fishing Aggregating Devices (FAD), especially concerning juveniles, by following FADs Working Group recommendations approved by the ICCAT Scientific Committee (SCRS).





Watch an animated timeline of WWF's and ICCAT's actions in in support of saving the Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and East Atlantic sea.




For information:
Chantal MENARD +34 646 75 10 38
cmenard@wwfmedpo.org  
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Mediterranean swordfish.
© Rene Heuzey
Atlantic bluefin tuna shoal, Malta
© Wild Wonders of Europe /Zankl / WWF
Timeline of BFT events.
© WWF Mediterranean