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Seychelles’ improves its conformity rating to IOTC’s resolutions |20 May 2023

Seychelles’ improves its conformity rating to IOTC’s resolutions

PS Clarisse (second from left) accompanied during the press conference yesterday by the other members of his delegation who took part in the 27th IOTC session (Photo: Joena Meme)


●         Country satisfied with outcome of last IOTC meeting


Seychelles’ delegation at the recent conference of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission held in Mauritius between May 8 and 12, 2023, has expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting, stating there was more dialogue and the collaboration they sought.

Speaking at a press conference at the Fisheries department headquarters at Maison Collet yesterday, the head of the four-member delegation, the principal secretary for Fisheries, Roy Clarisse, said the commission’s 27th session went well, with more discussions among members. 

Mr Clarisse said Seychelles also saw an improvement in its rating by the Compliance Committee, with regard to its conformity to IOTC resolutions, scoring 86 percent for 2023, compared to 80 percent last year.

He said this was a good achievement for Seychelles considering the general average rating stands at 65 percent.

“This is a big achievement for Seychelles as it shows that we honour our obligations and commitment towards ensuring that tuna fishing remains sustainable,” said Mr Clarisse.

With regard to the resolutions, according to Mr Clarisse, this year a record eighteen resolutions were tabled and half of them were adopted by the commission.

Seychelles tabled three out of which one was adopted while two were deferred. The one adopted referred to the creation of a Socio-Economic Working Group. According to Mr Clarisse this proposal was not new as Seychelles tabled a resolution back in 2017 requesting there was a study on the socio-economic aspect of tuna fishing. The study was carried out and its outcome was presented the following year.

Mr Clarisse explained that the working party has an important element because the IOTC agreement takes into account that tuna fishing should not only look at the biological aspect but the social and economic impacts as well.

“This is what has been lacking since the existence of the commission and we are very happy that other coastal countries have understood our resolution and saw its importance and have supported it,” he stated.

However a resolution calling for a study on the impact of live bait fishing was deferred as some countries felt it would be an extra burden on them.

Another resolution, which was adopted, was tabled by Japan and it concerned the management of the big eye tuna. It called on IOTC countries to reduce the number of big eye tuna caught in the Indian Ocean region to align it to the scientific committee recommendation. The scientific committee had stated in its latest stock assessment, that the species had reached a stage that was not sustainable. Japan was therefore calling on all countries to reduce their catch by 15 percent from the level it was in 2021, so that it does not surpass 80,567 tonnes.

The commission reached a consensus that each country should reduce their catch based on their status, location, sizes, and they were classified as major harvesters and small harvesters. The biggest reduction was by the European Union at 18.7 percent rate, while Seychelles was asked to reduce its catch by 12.7 percent.

Mauritius also tabled a resolution calling on all countries to observe a one-month break in tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean in 2024. However the commission did not reach a consensus, but rather suggested that this should be done on a voluntary basis and stated that countries that would like to extend the closure should do so voluntarily.

Australia tabled two resolutions which were adopted; one related to the introduction of a special hook as an alternative to the current ones being used by longline vessels to reduce the number of birds caught in those hooks.

Australia’s second resolution called for the introduction of minimum standards that all vessels using electronic monitoring devices for scientific purposes, should abide by. It was a follow up to Seychelles’ resolution last year, which made a similar request when asking IOTC to consider using electronic monitoring devices on vessels for scientific purposes.

Another resolution related to the setting up of a FADs Working Group, to replace the ad hoc one, which was not active. This was tabled by South Korea which stated the working group will work on all FADs-related recommendations.

“As you know FADs has been one of the most controversial discussions in IOTC and there is a need to have this working group that will involve all countries and the scientific committee, so that we can all make our contributions on how to implement measures related to Fish Aggregating Devices, both drifting FADs and anchored ones,” he explained.

South Korea also proposed a resolution geared towards the protection of marine mammals, which targeted only purse seiners and longliners but has now been extended to gill netters. Traditional fishing boats that interfere with these marine mammals should also report such information to the scientific committee.

Meanwhile, Mr Clarisse said the proposal by Indonesia during a special meeting in Kenya in February to have a 72-day ban of the use of drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (dFADs) by purse seiners in the Indian Ocean, remains the same although there were amendments by the EU and South Korea stressing on the scientific element of the ban.

Seychelles lodged its formal objection to the resolution earlier this year, stating it was not based on scientific research. The resolution is expected to be active on August 5, 2023 and according to Mr Clarisse seven countries including Seychelles are still objecting to it.

“If we do not have eleven countries objecting between now and August, it will be in force but it will not be applicable to the countries that have objected,” he stated.

Seychelles’ delegation at the 27the IOTC session comprised Sheriffa Morel, director general for Fisheries; Vincent Lucas, head of department for fisheries resource management and technical coordination at the Seychelles Fishing Authority and Karyss Auguste, assistant manager for License and Permit Section at the SFA .



Patsy Canaya





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