Call for ICCAT action to promote transparency and tackle IUU fishing

Date: November 14, 2022

Members of the EU IUU Fishing Coalition, Oceana, WWF, and The Pew Charitable Trusts, have published a position statement in advance of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) annual meeting, scheduled for November 14-21, 2022. The statement calls for action to promote transparency and tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and asks ICCAT Contracting Parties, Cooperating non-Contracting Parties (CPCs) to ensure that their national companies and citizens are unable to benefit from IUU fishing.

EU IUU Fishing Coalition members work together to ensure that engagement with regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) and key partners leads to increased transparency and strong measures against IUU fishing worldwide.

In a coalition report titled ’Achieving transparency and combating IUU fishing in RFMOs’, minimum transparency and anti-IUU fishing measures that are essential for RFMO CPCs and fishing entities to adopt and implement in order to end IUU fishing are outlined. The report’s annexes are updated annually to reflect the progress achieved in RFMOs in adopting these key measures.

The Coalition welcomed the new or updated measures adopted by the ICCAT in 2021 intended to combat IUU and urged all ICCAT CPCs to actively participate in the new ad hoc working groups on catch documentation systems, labour standards, and the development of minimum standards for electronic monitoring. In addition to these measures, the position statement details vital measures for discussion and adoption at the 2022 ICCAT meeting.

To promote transparency and tackle IUU fishing, ICCAT CPCs are asked to prioritise the following actions:

  1. Amend Recommendation 06-14 by ICCAT and strengthen the implementation of Recommendation 21-13, in order to prevent CPC nationals from deriving benefits from or supporting IUU fishing.
  2. Take the lead to secure agreement on clear objectives and minimum standards for an ICCAT electronic monitoring (EM) programme.
  3. Expand the coverage of electronic Catch Documentation Schemes (eCDS) to cover all ICCAT stocks/species.
  4. Revise resolution 18-09 on port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.
  5. Further expand International Maritime Organization (IMO) number reporting requirements to include all eligible vessels.
  6. Increase transparency about vessels’ identities and beneficial ownership.
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