Fisheries ministers sign declaration on measures to be proposed to IOTC |06 May 2022
Fisheries ministers of Indian Ocean countries have signed a declaration on the way they want to discuss about fishing in the region and this came about following yesterday’s fisheries ministerial meeting at the initiative of Minister of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari
The aim of the meeting held at the Eden Bleu Hotel was for fisheries ministers to reflect and evaluate the current political landscape ahead of the 26th session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) which will be held here from May 16-20.
Other than Minister Ferrari, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment of the Comoros, Houmed M’Saidie; Minister of Marine Resources and the Blue Economy of Mauritius, Sudheer Maudhoo (online); Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy of Madagascar, Paubert Mahatante (online) followed the meeting.
Principal secretary for fisheries Roy Clarisse, Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) chief executive Nichol Elizabeth and consultant of the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Philippe Michaud were part of the Seychelles delegation.
“Seychelles invited the fisheries ministers of the Indian Ocean countries because we wanted to align our positions before we go to the IOTC annual meeting. It is important for us as a group of countries as we share the same fishing specialisation ‒ tuna fishing ‒ that we align ourselves and agree on measures to be taken that make fish stocks sustainable. Yellow fin stock is in the red, there are quotas and this need to be regulated. What we want to see is that every member state in in the Indian Ocean and around make the same proportionate effort. We need to reduce our catches, other countries need to do the same. Unfortunately this has not happened and other countries have increased their catches. And we feel that is not fair as we have an industry to supply, a canning factory to supply and jobs to create. It is important that the fishery industry keeps going on. We want to align our positions so that when we go to the IOTC meeting, we can tell them this is our position and let us find other countries who have not made the efforts to abide by their decisions,” said Designated Minister Ferrari.
Minister Ferrari also explained that the pressure on fish stocks has now changed from being simply an annoyance a few years ago to now in 2022, becoming an existential threat.
“While we rack our brains to secure the balanced and sustainable exploitation of Indian Ocean tunas, others, our competitors, have decided that the only solution is to fight for the closure of the purse seining industry. Rest assured that we will not allow this to happen. Together, we will morph, we will adjust, we will innovate, we will transform, we will invest and we will do everything necessary to remain at the top of our industry,” noted Designated Minister Ferrari.
A lot were discussed during the day and there were also representatives of the industry who made presentations on the reality of our seas.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment of the Comoros, Houmed M’Saidie said he was happy to be able to participate in such an important meeting and to adopt a common position. “We are also discussing with the companies who help our countries. Our position is clear and we are proposing our concerns in all transparency and so far we are all agreeing on the same measures.”