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28th IOTC Session: Mixed reaction from Seychelles on tuna fisheries proposals adopted 

Victoria, Seychelles | May 23, 2024, Thursday @ 11:41 in Business » FISHERIES | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4217
28th IOTC Session: Mixed reaction from Seychelles on tuna fisheries proposals adopted 

FADS collected after a 20-day clean expedition on Saya de Malha vessel. (Seychelles Fishing Authority)

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Seychelles has expressed mixed feelings about the recommendations taken at the 28th Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) held in Bangkok, Thailand, in a press conference on Wedneday.

The Seychelles' delegation was led by the principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarisse, to the meeting held from May 13 to 17, and 16 out of 24 proposals were adopted as recommendations by the IOTC.  

In a press conference on Wednesday, the chief executive of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), Jan Robinson, said, "We are disappointed that not all three of Seychelles' proposals were adopted and we are also a little bit disappointed that the Commission continues to pass resolutions concerning the purse seine fisheries and many of the other fisheries that need action don't seem to be very supportive of adopting measures for their fisheries."

Seychelles tabled three proposals at the meeting and the one adopted was on measures to end the wasteful practice of discards at sea for fishing vessels other than purse seiners.

Robinson said the measure concerning by-catch has an impact on the country and "there is a lot more by-catch landing in the country, which is being used by local processors. By and large, we are benefiting from that plan on discarding and it is really leading to opportunities for our local processors to advance through that bycatch."

SFA is currently monitoring vessels by randomly asking to view the video footage found on board, and should there be evidence that they are disrespecting the measures, this will be taken very seriously.

Seychelles had two other proposals relating to strengthening data collection and reporting requirements, including for the pole and line fishery as recommended by the IOTC Scientific Committee.

The key proposals to become recommendations in the meeting were for better management of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and the science-based management of stocks of skipjack tuna and swordfish.

Robinson said it concerns the best practices for managing the two stocks and that it is a real achievement for the commission to pass these two resolutions.

He explained that this decision puts IOTC at the forefront for best practices for managing shared stocks.

The members at the meeting discussed mandatory transitioning to biodegradable FADs and some resolutions proposed severe cutting of FADs.

"It was very clear that there was a willingness for all to find a proposal to find one successful outcome on FADs," said Robinson.

As a result of the resolutions FADs are expected to come down to 270 in 2026 and 240 two years later, while European Union vessels have an even greater cut, going down to 250 by 2026 and 225 by the next two years after that.

"This was a signal that contracting cooperating parties (CCPs) are willing to exact a reduced number of FADs to mitigate any impact they are having on tuna stocks and coastal environment," he added.

A FAD register, which will come into force following the meeting, will be administered by the secretariat and Robinson said, "this will improve transparency in FAD fishing in the Indian Ocean."

Robinson concluded by saying that Seychelles is happy with the level of FAD management, "but we still have to understand that this will have some impacts on our industry and that it will take some time to put all the measures in place within the next year or two." 

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

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