Scientists review status of tuna stocks


                                      The opening session of the meeting yesterday

Observer organisations include the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Sustainability Seafood Fund  (SSF).

The IOTC secretary Alejandro Anganuzzi said the reports from IOTC working groups which had gathered in Seychelles, Korea, Maldives and India will provide the basis for the advice that the scientific committee will provide, towards the end of this week, on measures IOTC member countries need to take to ensure the sustainability of tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean.

Part of the work will also serve to evaluate the effects of the protective measures adopted two years ago - which came into effect this year - to reduce the fishing pressure on the tropical species, and to look into alternative measures that might be necessary in future.

The meeting of the scientific committee, which is also being attended by non-governmental organisations involved in nature conservation, such as BirdLife Seychelles and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), will review the progress of the scientific work of IOTC members and coordinate future national research plans.

“As the tuna stocks become fully utilised, there is increased pressure on the scientific community to monitor more closely the situation of the stock, producing better assessments and, ultimately better advice,” said Mr Anganuzzi.

He added that this year there was a major effort to obtain assessment of all major species, and there have been encouraging results on the status of the stocks.

The IOTC serves as a forum for its member countries to agree on joint management action to preserve tuna populations to sustainable levels, as well as their habitat.
The secretariat of the IOTC has been based in Victoria since 1998.

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