Bad Outcome for Sharks, Swordfish at ICCAT Meeting

18 November 2014, at 12:00am

EU - The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meeting has concluded today in Genoa, Italy, but with no agreed management for sharks or Mediterranean swordfish.

Several shark proposals were tabled during the meeting but the parties involved could not agree on catch limits or any other measure that would help endangered and vulnerable populations rebound.

The EU's proposal on shark finning was also once again rejected at the meeting for the 6th year in a row.

“Once again, ICCAT members ignored calls to sustainably manage shark populations. Porbeagle and shortfin mako sharks in the Atlantic Ocean will continue to be fished without limit, despite clear scientific advice that overfishing is depleting these populations. Failure to act goes against the recommendations of precautionary science and will only speed the decline of these top predators,” said Paulus Tak, a senior officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts.

ICCAT did however adopt the EU's proposal for better data collection, reporting, research and an anticipated stock assessment in 2016 for shortfin mako.

Despite being overfished, the meeting failed to take any action on Mediterranean swordfish.

Dr Ilaria Vielmini, Marine Scientist with Oceana in Europe commented: “Swordfish catches have declined across much of the Mediterranean Sea and the fishery is clearly unsustainable, with juvenile fish now representing 75 per cent of catches. ICCAT cannot keep turning deaf ears to these alarm signals, by accepting overfishing as the status quo for Mediterranean swordfish.”

Further Reading

You can view the tuna outcome of the meeting by clicking here.