Albacora fleet manager: IATTC is ‘model’ for tuna management

Posted By Stop Illegal Fishing:12th Sep, 2017: Best Practice and Lessons Learnt · Fisheries Management · Regional cooperation and collaboration

VIGO, Spain — The cap on new capacity and other management measures mean the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) is the pick of the bunch in regional fishery management authority (RFMO) terms, said Imanol Loinaz, fleet director for Spanish fishing giant Albacora.

The IATTC is “a model” among the RFMOs, he said, speaking on a panel at the VIII Worldwide Tuna Conference, held Sept. 11-12 in Spanish seafood hub, Vigo. After a recent meeting in Mexico City, the IATTC introduced some of the most stringent tuna management measures in the world.

“There is no more growth in tonnage allowed”, with new entrants having to buy an existing license, said Loinaz.

Also, the IATTC has 100% observer coverage. Although politics “sometimes comes into play”, the fact that decisions are based on consensus, not on a majority vote, as in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), means negotiations can happen on contentious points, Loinaz.

Wikipedia defines the difference between consensus and majority vote decision making as follows:

“Consensus process, by definition, seeks the maximum possible levels of agreement or consent. Thus, if a group using a majority vote decision rule is dominated by a majority faction that does not seek the agreement of all participants, the process would not be considered “consensus”.”

The basis for decision making is not the only part of its management approach that the IOTC is falling short on, according to Loinaz.

Albacora’s position is no more purse seiners should be built, “unless the equivalent amount plus 20% are scrapped”, he said. “There are too many vessels out there.”

In the IOTC, the coastal countries in the region are still able to build vessels, however.

“Management measures go against larger fleets,” he claimed. There have been a series of “measures imposed without taking into account the real issue, capacity is the element we should be taking into account”, said Loinaz.

In the IOTC, a quota has been introduced on yellowfin catches that might also mean a stop on skipjack harvesting. Catching yellowfin on fish aggregation devices, or FADs, which are widely used by Albacora and the other Spanish vessels in the IOTC.

As for the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Management Authority (WCPFC), decisions are also made by majority vote, “so the aim is to benefit the seaboard countries”, he said.

Also, in the WCPFC, there is a limit on new capacity. However, the countries from the Parties to the Narua Agreement (PNA), a group of Pacific islands that control the world’s largest tuna purse seine fishery and have Marine Stewardship Council certification for their skipjack and yellowfin fisheries, are able to build new vessels.

Measures in the fishery are “focused around” the PNA countries, he said.

In the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, RFMO, decisions are made by consensus, which means its “ harder for politics” to get in the way, said Loinaz.

Source: Undercurrent

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