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Tuna fishing: Seychelles puts forward 3 resolutions for next IOTC meeting 

Victoria, Seychelles | April 22, 2024, Monday @ 18:11 in Business » FISHERIES | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3618
Tuna fishing: Seychelles puts forward 3 resolutions for next IOTC meeting 

Other topics discussed were the redistribution of yellow-fin tuna fishing quotas. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) 

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Seychelles' fisheries officials held discussions with high-level government officials of the fisheries sector from Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Comores and Mauritius in an online meeting to discuss draft proposals for the upcoming Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) meeting. 

The South West Indian Ocean representatives of the sector gathered at L'Escale Resort and Spa on Friday to prepare a common position to present at the next session of IOTC, due to be held next month in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari, told the press in an interview that the meeting aimed to "build and implement a common strategy among like-minded coastal states, to counter the risk of disproportionate burden in the conservation and management of the stocks on some states, and to ensure that the tropical tuna stocks of the Indian Ocean recover."

A total of 24 resolutions were tabled during the meeting, of which Seychelles had put forward in three.

"Two are based on information as we have seen in scientific reports that there are countries that are not submitting information or are not submitting all the necessary information," said the principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarisse, to the press on the day of the meeting.

An area of concern to the Seychelles' authorities is pull and line fishing.

"A lot of live bait is used in this form of fishing, although the other countries are not providing the information of this type of fishing, and when we are managing a form of fishing, we have to ensure that the ecosystem is also well managed," he said.

He explained that where tuna fishing is concerned in Seychelles, the authorities say they ensure that the by-catch is also well managed - which is why the country's first two proposals target the issue.

Seychelles' third proposition is based on the laws governing by-catch.

"In the IOTC there is a resolution that prevents purse seiners from discarding their by-catches in countries where there is a large volume of human consumption of the products," said Clarisse.

As Seychelles has been advocating for this cause since 2009 until its eventual adoption, Clarisse added that they now wanted to "broaden this proposal as we know that there are other forms of tuna fishing that also take fish fit for human consumption and throw them back at sea".

"What we are asking is that all these vessels that have caught fish fit for human consumption - keeping in mind that protected species are not caught - should be kept on board and eventually help with food security," he expanded.

Fisheries is the second top contributor to the economy of Seychelles and adopting such a stance would not only help the island nation but also help develop additional economic activities in those countries.

Another pertinent resolution the delegations discussed was the introduction of a fish aggregating devices (FADs) closure.

"We have held our own economic analysis to determine how much this would affect Seychelles to have such a closure," he said.

To recall, Seychelles voted against the banning of FADs in the IOTC session last year.

Other topics discussed were the redistribution of yellow-fin tuna fishing quotas.

"There are countries that have objected to the resolution and have not made the necessary contribution to ensure that this form of fishing is rebuilt," said Clarisse.

"We have to ensure that any such resolution brought to the table is discussed in a manner that is equitable, we need to seriously look at the fishing, the various economies to make sure that no one is disfavoured for another,"

"We also have to ensure that Seychelles' interests are put first, as you know our economy is very much dependent on the fisheries sector," he concluded.

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Tags: Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, IOTC, fish aggregating devices

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