Letter to RMFO (IATTC)

August 5, 2018
ATTN: Heads of Delegation to IOTC, IATTC, ICCAT and WCPFC
Dear Delegates:
This letter is submitted on behalf of the undersigned companies, non-governmental organizations and
fishing industry associations, all of whom recognize that the sustainability of tuna stocks is integral to
businesses and livelihoods, as well as to the health of the marine environment.
The companies represent major seafood buyers that source seafood products from a diverse,
international supply network.
The non-governmental organizations work in more than 100 countries and engage suppliers and provide
advice to retailers, buyers and food service companies regarding improvements in tuna sustainability.
The fishing industry associations represent a variety of gear types, including purse seine, longline, troll,
pole and line, and handline vessels active in tuna fisheries worldwide.
Your government serves as an important leader in tuna stock sustainability as a member of one or more
of the four regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) charged with managing the world’s
tropical tuna fisheries. We are writing to bring to your attention our collective views on several issues
crucial to the long-term sustainability of tuna stocks:
• The development and implementation of comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies
• Effective monitoring and management of fish aggregating devices (FADs)
• Strengthened monitoring, control and surveillance tools, including increased observer
coverage in purse seine and longline fisheries, and of at-sea transshipment activity through
human observers and/or electronic monitoring
• Greater focus on implementation of bycatch mitigation actions broadly, with an emphasis on
longline fisheries
We recognize that certain tuna RFMOs have made progress on several of these issues and we applaud
those actions.
However, we wish to underscore that while the progress to-date is positive, accelerated actions must be
taken at this year’s RFMO meetings to:
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1. Develop and implement comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies with specific timelines
for all tuna stocks, including the adoption and implementation of target and limit reference
points, harvest control rules, monitoring strategies, operational objectives, performance
indicators, and management strategy evaluation;
2. Adopt a 100% observer coverage requirement for purse seine vessels where it is not already
required, and require the use of the best-available observer safety equipment, communications
and procedures;
3. Increase compliance with mandatory minimum 5% longline observer coverage rates by
identifying and sanctioning non-compliance, and adopt and implement a 100% observer
coverage requirement – human and/or electronic – within five years for longline fisheries;
4. Adopt and implement a 100% observer coverage requirement for at-sea transshipment
activities, as well as other measures that ensure transshipment activity is transparent and wellmanaged,
and that all required data is fully collected and sent to the appropriate bodies in a
timely manner;
5. Develop and implement science-based recommendations for the effective management of
FADs, and integrate FAD-based information into stock assessments to reduce uncertainties;
6. Adopt effective measures for the use of non-entangling FAD designs as a precautionary measure
to minimize the entanglement of sharks and other non-target species, and support research on
biodegradable materials and transition to their use to mitigate marine debris;
7. More effectively implement, and ensure compliance with, existing RFMO bycatch requirements
and take additional mitigation action, such as improving monitoring at sea, collecting and
sharing operational-level, species-specific data, and adopting stronger compliance measures,
including consequences for non-compliance for all gear types.
Collectively, we believe these measures will positively impact the long-term sustainability of tuna stocks
and the overall health of the marine ecosystem.
We request that your government, as a member of one or more of the tuna RFMOs, take active steps to
ensure significant progress on these issues at each of the relevant RFMO meetings in 2018, as a matter
of priority.

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