ICCAT fails again: Lack of action puts the future of Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea fisheries at risk
Press Release Date: November 17, 2015
Marta Madina | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | tel.: Marta Madina
Oceana is deeply disappointed that the 49 Contracting Parties present at the 24th Regular meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) have failed to address long standing management issues for key stocks under its scope. The highly overfished and commercially overexploited Mediterranean swordfish, blue shark and shortfin mako have all been left completely unmanaged leaving their fisheries wide open to overfishing by international fleets.
“ICCAT has failed its responsibilities as the international organisation responsible for management of highly migratory species in the Atlantic”, says Lasse Gustavsson, executive director for Oceana in Europe. “Contracting Parties have blocked any progress on the urgent and necessary management measures for sharks such as shortfin mako and blue shark. The catches of these sharks have increased dramatically in the last decade but no regulation is yet in place. ICCAT also failed to address the high overfishing of Mediterranean swordfish. If action is not taken, the Eastern bluefin tuna crisis could replicate again with this species”.
During the ICCAT opening, Karmenu Vella, EU commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and a Maltese national, had called for urgent measures to recover Mediterranean swordfish. Vella referred to it as a “worrying example” due to its overfished state, and said that “we must not delay action to ensure the sustainable exploitation of this stock”. The stock has fallen to 1/3 of its biomass since the 1980s after being fished with no limits for three decades now.