Measures taken at 25th session of IOTC to ensure tropical tuna stocks for Maldives remain at sustainable levels

Sustainable pole and line tuna fishing in the Maldives | Photo: ATUNA

Male’, Maldives –The Government of Maldives has announced that they have taken two important Conservation Management Measures to ensure that two of the most important tropical tuna stocks for the Maldives remain at a sustainable level at the 25th Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).

The two measures taken are a revised Interim Plan for Rebuilding the Indian Ocean Yellowfin Tuna Stock and an amendment to the resolution on Harvest Control Rules for Skipjack Tuna in the IOTC Area of Competence.

Maldives initially tabled a proposal at the 4th Special Session of the IOTC in March 2021 calling for higher reduction of yellowfin tuna catches from various gear categories compared to the current conservation and management measure. However, several members expressed strong objection to the proposal on various grounds. The proposal was then deferred to the annual session.

On the last day of the session on June 11, 2021, after heavy compromises and multiple difficult negotiations from many member states, the proposal of Maldives, co-sponsored by Kenya. South Africa and the Comoros, was adopted although few member states had still objected it.

The interim measure is scheduled to be implemented on January 2022. It will be addressing the most pressing conservation issues facing the Indian Ocean Yellowfin Tuna stock in the short term.

The second measure proposed by the Maldives was to the resolution on Harvest Control Rule (HRC) for Skipjack Tuna, urging the Commission to develop and adopt a Conservation and Management Measure to ensure catches are maintained at or below the overall catch limit established by the HCR even though the skipjack tuna stock is currently in a healthy state.

It is very important for Small Island Developing States such as maldives for the tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean is at a sustainable level. This is because the countries rely heavily on tuna stocks for food security, jobs, livelihood opportunities.

Tuna stocks is key to the survival of the Maldivian people and our way of life.

Maldivian Government

The Maldivian Government stated that adoption of the aforementioned measures is a step in ensuring long term sustainability of the tuna stocks.

As The Maldives’ tuna fishery is one of the most sustainable in the world, the Maldivian government stated that they would continue to advocate globally for sustainable fisheries prices.