1. The long-term institutional arrangements for the management of tuna in the Indian Ocean has been discussed by the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission (IOFC) since its First Session in 1968 and in the IOFC Committee for the Management of Indian Ocean Tuna since 1970. The substantial increase in the catch of tuna and tuna-like species in the 1980s prompted serious discussions at the Ninth Session of the IOFC Committee for the Management of Indian Ocean Tuna in 1986. This marked the beginning of a serious attempt towards establishing a commission with appropriate structure and power to manage the tunas of the Indian Ocean. The Committee set up a small ad hoc group of nations to review in detail the options available for the long-term institutional arrangements for the management of tuna in the Indian Ocean.
2. The First Government Consultation, held in Rome in May 1987, had an exploratory mission. It discussed in rather general terms the issues related to the institutional arrangements for the management of tuna in the Indian Ocean. A Second Government Consultation held in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 1988 made substantial progress in identifying the issues which were contentious and needed elaboration. Following formal and informal discussions and negotiations, the First Conference for the Adoption of a Draft Agreement for the Establishment of the India Ocean Tuna Commission under Article XIV of FAO Constitution was held in Rome in 1989. The Conference considered that further amendments to the text were needed in order to improve the Draft Agreement. The outstanding issues at this stage were the membership (in view of the interest of the European Community), funding and the powers of the Commission.
3. In 1991, the Basic Texts of FAO were amended, paving the way for the European Community (EC) to become a member of the Organization, as well as granting more power to bodies established under Article XIV of the FAO Constitution. The Second Conference whi94ch was held in Rome in June 1992 reached broad agreement on the Text of the Draft Agreement. The Draft Agreement for the Establishment of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission was finally adopted by the FAO Council in 1993 and circulated in 1994. It entered into force in 1996. The present document describes the origin and the long process by which the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) was established.