Gland, Switzerland. Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna stocks may collapse without better regulation, warned WWF in advance of the annual meeting1 of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the organisation responsible for the conservation and management of tuna and other marine resources in the Indian Ocean. The IOTC, which meets May 23-27 on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, has yet to set catch limits on any tuna species.

Dr Wetjens Dimmlich, WWF Indian Ocean tuna program manager said:

“We urge the Commission to meet the IOTC Scientific Committee’s recommendation to reduce catches of yellowfin tuna by 20%. Member states must immediately adopt measures to start rebuilding the depleted stocks of yellowfin tuna.”

The status of yellowfin tuna has changed from ‘green’ to ‘red’ according to the latest stock assessment conducted by the IOTC and published in 2015. The IOTC Scientific Committee warned of a possible stock collapse within just five years if fishing continues at recent high levels. Yellowfin tuna, a high profile species that makes up a significant and valuable proportion of exports from the region, is seriously affected by overfishing and is in need of urgent measures to recover.

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© Wetjens Dimmlich/WWF

Dr Dimmlich said:

“Well-managed fisheries, such as North Sea herring have well-defined harvest control rules in place.  These trigger immediate response to signs of change in stocks and prevent the need for drastic measures after the damage has already been done. The lack of these control rules in this region has contributed to the current plight of yellowfin tuna”

For the rest of the story: Source: WWF