ICCAT: Swordfish


Oceana Recommendations for an effective management framework for Mediterranean swordfish under ICCAT (PDF)

Mediterranean swordfish management has repeatedly been ignored to the detriment of the conservation of this species. Despite the status of the stock, and the absence of reliable data on real catch and fleet participation, the fishery has remained an open access one.

In 2009, a major step was made through the adoption of the ICCAT Recommendation [04-09] that put in place a management framework for the sustainable exploitation of Mediterranean swordfish and states, in paragraph 4: “The Commission shall establish and maintain an ICCAT list of all fishing vessels authorized to catch swordfish in the Mediterranean Sea and make it available at the latest by 31 August each year. For the purposes of this recommendation, vessels not entered into the ICCAT list of all vessels authorized to swordfish in the Mediterranean Sea are deemed not to be authorized to catch, retain on board, tranship, transport, process or land swordfish”.

The objective of this list, which includes not only those vessels that carry out active fisheries for this species but also those that capture Mediterranean swordfish as by-catch in other fisheries, is to effectively control the fishery closure and to make available reliable information about fishing effort intensity with the view of setting the basis for a future management plan.

The aforementioned recommendation allows the list to be modified after August 31, 2010. Indeed, successive inclusions have been made to the list of authorized vessels since that date. Those inclusions were particularly pronounced before and during the ICCAT Special Meeting of the Commission hold in November 2010.