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WWF welcomes key IOTC resolutions but urges stronger action for yellowfin tuna

Despite making progress towards more effective and equitable management of tuna fisheries, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission once more deferred making clear decisions that would prevent the region’s yellowfin tuna stocks from collapsing, says WWF.

[Mauritius, 12 May] The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) adopted several promising resolutions that will have benefits for ocean conservation at its annual meeting in Mauritius this week, but it has failed to heed a science-based call to reduce the catch of yellowfin tuna in the region by 30% against a 2020 baseline, says WWF. 

According to analysis by the IOTC’s own Scientific Committee, such a reduction would give declining yellowfin tuna stocks a 67% chance of recovering by 2030

Notable resolutions that were adopted at the meeting include: 

- The voluntary closure of yellowfin tuna fisheries, or an option to voluntarily reduce annual catches, for those IOTC members that wish to display their commitment to sustainable fisheries management.

- A 15% reduction in the allowable annual catch of bigeye tuna. 
- A suite of measures to reduce the bycatch of seabirds and marine mammals such as dolphins and whales.

- Standards for electronic monitoring systems on industrial fishing vessels. Such systems harness artificial intelligence and remote sensing technologies to more accurately monitor the volumes and species caught. The IOTC is the first regional fisheries management organisation to adopt such standards.

- A long-awaited proposal – at least five years in the making – to improve compliance mechanisms.