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New Danger To Tuna In Indian Ocean

  • May 22nd, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

tuna.jpgThe European Commission says it is dismayed at the failure of a move to check heavy
exploitation of tuna stocks in the South-west Indian Ocean, especially by Taiwanese fleets.

It released a statement (21.5.07) deploring the break-down of plans at a meeting last week in Mauritius (13-18.5.07), to extend the powers of a new Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) for the region’s tuna fishery.

It said that the change had been agreed in principle last year, at Goa, at a meeting of that body, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)l.

The organisation takes in several countries with interests in monitoring of stocks, research, conservation measures, and economic and social issues connected with the fishery: Australia, China, Comoros, Eritrea, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vanuatu, France and the United Kingdom representing their territories in the region – and the European Union as the leading importer of seafood products form the South-west Indian Ocean.

It has been unable to act on the tuna problem because it is itself connected to the United Nations and the Food and Agriculture Organisation; those don’t recognise Taiwan; so it has not been possible to make contracts with Taiwan, to rein in the present illegal trade.

The European Union and other delegations had wanted amendments to the organisation’s rules to break the link to the UN and FAO – using a diplomatic solution to clear the way for action.

The IOTC would have been put on the same footing as tuna protection agencies in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The EU Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, said the planned change would have been decisive for dealing with illegal fishing.

Failure to reach consensus would mean undermining the ability to tackle illegal fishing head on, putting tuna resources in the area at high risk of depletion.

Existing organisations would not be able to check massive uncontrolled fishing activities by Taiwan, which had rocketed.

The European Union contributed EU7-billion (A$11.47-million) this year to costs of stepped-up surveillance in the South-west Indian Ocean, against illegal, unreported and unregistered fishing (IUU).

Picture: stock.schng