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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Seychelles hails world tuna plan
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has welcomed an international plan adopted in Japan last Friday to arrest the decline of tuna stocks around the world and take action against illegal fishing.
Environment and natural resources minister Ronny Jumeau noted the plan complements the agreement reached in Seychelles last week by the countries of the South-West Indian Ocean (SWIO) to combat illegal fishing under a regional surveillance plan.
The international plan came at the first-ever meeting of the world's five regional tuna management bodies, including the Seychelles-based Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), in Kobe, Western Japan.
The Kobe conference coincided with last week's Regional Ministerial Fisheries Meeting at the Le Meridien Barbarons Hotel that launched the Regional Plan on Fisheries Surveillance in the South-West Indian Ocean.
'The international plan validates and complements the decisions we took and the regional surveillance plan we launched in Seychelles last week,' commented Minister Jumeau, who led the Seychelles delegation at the Barbarons meeting and chaired the opening and signing ceremonies.
'The problem of illegal fishing is worldwide and needs a dedicated and concerted effort by all sincere right-thinking fishing nations if we are to protect and sustainably manage our tuna and other fish stocks for the benefit of our peoples and economies,' Mr Jumeau added.
At the meeting in Seychelles, the European Union (EU) granted 7 million euros to help Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) nations combat illegal fishing over the next three years.
'We are fully committed to combating illegal fishing practices and we believe that regional fisheries management organisations, such as the IOC, are crucial to winning this battle. The EU funding will strengthen the IOC in its endeavors against such practices,' EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said in a statement from Brussels.
The regional surveillance plan will be developed in cooperation between the EU and the five members of the IOC ' Comoros, France (on behalf of La Reunion), Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. The aim is to improve the capacities of the SWIO countries to develop strategies to monitor illegal fishing.
Illegal fishing threatens the sustainability of fisheries in the SWIO, where highly profitable fisheries operate in a vast geographic area totaling 5.6 million square kilometres. However, most states lack sufficient operational means to ensure efficient monitoring and controls.
The international plan launched in Japan called for better monitoring and co-ordination across regions, as well as a crackdown on illegal fishing. Delegates from the world's five tuna bodies called the plan a first step towards arresting a decline in stocks.
However, conservationists said the measures were not enough, blaming illegal and unregulated fishing and unsustainable quotas for tuna's dramatic decline.
The plan, agreed by some 300 delegates from 60 countries, recognized 'the critical need to arrest further stock decline in the case of depleted stocks (and) maintain and rebuild tuna stocks to sustainable levels'.
It called for a coordinated effort to monitor the tuna trade, including tagging fish to assess catch sizes, and broader sharing of information about vessels fishing illegally.
Participants also committed to cooperating through regional fisheries management organizations and minimizing environmental damage from the industry.
The meeting highlighted differences on the issue of whether there should be limits on the size of the world's tuna fleets. Richer countries want to limit fishing capacity while poorer island nations are seeking to expand their fleets.
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