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European Commission - Press release
Brussels, 11 November 2011 - The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is holding its 22nd Regular Meeting in Istanbul from 11 to 19 of November 2011. In this annual meeting, the European Union and other ICCAT Contracting Parties will agree on management and control measures for the sustainable protection of tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. These measures will be based on scientific advice released on 17 October 2011 and will include the setting of Total Allowable Catches (TACs) where recommended by the ICCAT scientific committee, e.g. for bigeye tuna, and North and South Atlantic albacore.
The European Union will table ambitious proposals for the conservation of Mediterranean swordfish, and tropical tunas and sharks, in line with the recommendations of the Scientific Committee. The EU will also promote mitigation measures against incidental catches of seabirds.
As regards bluefin tuna, the TAC for 2012 was set last year at 12,900 tonnes and is expected to be maintained, as no new advice has become available in the meantime. At the meeting, utmost attention will be paid to check that all Contracting Parties comply with the conservation and enforcement rules in place, in particular with regard to bluefin and tropical tuna, to ensure a level playing field between parties and to strengthen the measures' efficiency.
To further improve the traceability of bluefin tuna throughout the market chain, and to enhance the ability to detect fraud and deter illegal shipments, the EU will continue to lead the development of an electronic Catch Documentation System for Bluefin Tuna (e-BCD), which would replace the existing paper-based system. At the same time, the EU will promote the adoption of Catch Document Programmes for other species managed by ICCAT.
In line with Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki's recent letter to ICCAT's Chairman, the EU will propose to launch an initiative to consolidate and further improve scientific advice to facilitate sound and effective decisions by ICCAT fisheries managers. This will include incentives for Contracting Parties to submit the catch data required to assess the stocks, including sharks, under the ICCAT Convention.
The EU will also continue its fight against IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing by promoting the adoption of Port State Measures.
ICCAT's objective is to maintain populations of tuna and tuna-like fish found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean at sustainable levels. The EU is a full member of ICCAT and plays a leading role to achieve this objective.