European Parliament adopts new rules for tuna fishing in Indian Ocean

Photo: Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
Photo: Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

The European Parliament has approved a report on tuna fishing measures in the Indian Ocean with 596 votes against four and 22 abstentions on Tuesday, October 4.

The text agreed on with the council should transpose all conservation and management measures of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) since 2008 into EU legislation. As in other similar cases, the European Commission has requested the power to adopt delegated acts to ensure transposition of the technical rules.

The EU has been a contracting party of the IOTC since 1995 and the EU fleet is among top three fleets fishing in the area, mainly for tropical tuna species.

The proposed text concerns a wide range of measures such as a ban on fishing near data buoys, data collection and reporting obligations concerning billfish and blue shark, and measures to protect certain species such as shark, rays, and turtles.

Following the European Parliament's approval, the council will have to formally agree with the text, which will then enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

According to 2020 statistics, the EU fleet caught 217,000 tonnes of fish in the western Indian Ocean, which is the main tuna fishing ground for the EU. Around 69 per cent of the catch was taken by Spain, 28 per cent by France, two per cent by Italy, and one per cent by Portugal.

The catch consisted of mainly skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye tuna.

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