Posted on 8 June 2021
Guayaquil, June 7, 2021. Within the framework of World Oceans Day, WWF-Ecuador during the extraordinary session that will be held from 7 as of June 10, calls on the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) to adopt a conservation measure for tropical tunas that incorporates more rigorous and additional elements for the better management of Fish Aggregating Devices, also called “FADs” (FADs for its acronym in English).
The Ecuadorian tuna fleet, the largest and most powerful in the region, bases its operation on the use of FADs. The use of these devices has made fishing a more efficient activity, but it also brings associated problems of bycatch of small tunas such as bigeye tuna and yellowfin tuna; and marine pollution, because in most cases, they are made of plastic and other synthetic material, and on many occasions they are lost in the ocean.
During this extraordinary session, the IATTC has the opportunity to incorporate additional elements that continue with the process of improving the management framework for the FAD fishery in the Eastern Pacific. To this date, a regulation has been established that obliges member countries to report more details about their use, the use of non-mesh prototypes has also been made mandatory, tests are carried out with degradable materials for their construction, and it has limited the number of active FADs depending on the type of vessel. “That is positive, but it is not enough,” says Pablo Guerrero, director of Marine Landscape Conservation at WWF-Ecuador.
IATTC scientists have repeatedly recommended better FAD management, even recently urging this at the May meeting of the Commission’s Scientific Advisory Committee #12. WWF has supported most of these measures because they are based on scientific evidence, and because their application would further limit the impact of the devices on the marine ecosystem and the fishing mortality of small bigeye and yellowfin tuna.
“If the IATTC could move forward on the issue of FAD management this week, and in general, on a multi-year conservation measure for tropical tunas, it would free up the time necessary so that at the next annual meeting in August, several other matters that are also very relevant and that the Commission must resolve could be brought up. We refer, among others, to the problem of fishing overcapacity, the adoption of electronic monitoring systems, the increase in the coverage of observers on longline vessels and small purse seiners, measures to combat illegal fishing, and measures to the conservation of sharks, manta rays and seabirds. These are some of the reasons why the Commission should move forward at its extraordinary meeting in June.
Every year, on June 8, Oceans Day is celebrated worldwide; oceans produce 50% of the planet’s oxygen and are key to the world economy, since approximately 200 million people live directly from fishing. Climate change, plastic pollution, unsustainable fishing, are some of the threats that endanger the health of our oceans. About 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water and the oceans contain about 96.5% of all this water.
“The seas are an essential piece to guarantee a prosperous and healthy future for humanity. The measures and agreements that are being discussed this week at the extraordinary meeting of the IATTC are key to the conservation of our seas. If we keep our oceans healthy, we have healthy people,” concludes Guerrero.
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Read the original coverage from WWF Ecuador at https://www.wwf.org.ec/?367275/CIATplantados
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