Wednesday, July 8, 2015

08/07/2015: EU secures protection for endangered manta rays

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) has, at the initiative of the EU, adopted a breakthrough retention ban on mantas. The ban was agreed at the IATTC annual meeting in Guayaquil, Ecuador, from 29 June to 3 July. IATTC members also agreed to establish a marking scheme for fish aggregating devices (FADs), and to strengthen current measures against illegal fishing.
Image: KAZ2.0
With the adoption of a retention ban and mandatory handling guidelines for mantas and devil rays, the IATTC is breaking new ground: it is the first regional fisheries management organisation to do so. Both mantas and devil rays are seriously under threat. In addition, the IATTC will set up a data collection programme for these vulnerable rays as of 2017, to monitor the status of the species.

Regrettably, progress on other issues was more limited: the IATTC could not reach a consensus on the EU proposals on shark conservation and on port state measures (PSM). The EU has strongly encouraged action in these areas as a way to combat non-sustainable fishing practices and contribute to the protection of vulnerable shark stocks.

The Commission now intends to consult with its international partners with a view to achieving consensus on these matters at the next IATTC meeting in July 2016. The EU is fully committed to help developing states build capacity on PSM. It is also deeply concerned that, despite existing overcapacity, the IATTC has not agreed on concrete measures to reduce overcapacity.

The IATTC is responsible for the conservation and management of tuna and other marine resources in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Its members include, among others, Canada, China, the EU, Japan, the US, Ecuador, Mexico and a number of other Central and South American states.

Visit the European Commission's fisheries site HERE.

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