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  1. Introduction
  2. Mandate
  3. History
  4. Legal framework
  5. Area of competence
  6. Species and stocks coverage
  7. Membership
  8. Structure
  9. EIMS Publications Database
  10. Media materials
  11. Contact

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is a regional fisheries management organisation responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas established by the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas in 1966.

ICCAT annually assesses between four and seven fish stocks and manages more than 50 fisheries. ICCAT established requirements for minimum standards for the Vessel Monitoring System in the ICCAT Convention area in 2003, IUU vessel lists in 2002, transhipment regulations in 2006 and port inspections measures in 2012.

Mandate The main objective of ICCAT is maintaining the populations of tunas and tuna-like species found in the Atlantic Ocean and the adjacent seas at levels, which will permit the maximum sustainable catch for food and other purposes. Under the new Convention, which will enter into force following signature of the Mallorca Protocol, ICCAT will also have a mandate to manage elasmobranchs that are oceanic, pelagic, and highly migratory found in the Atlantic Ocean.

ICAAT functions are:
(a) collecting and analysing statistical information relating to the current conditions and trends of the
tuna fishery resources of the Convention area;
(b) studying and appraising information concerning measures and methods to ensure maintenance of
the populations of tuna and tuna-like fishes in the Convention area at levels which will permit the maximum sustainable catch and which will ensure the effective exploitation of these fishes in a manner consistent with this catch;
(c) recommending studies and investigations to the Contracting Parties;
(d) provides a mechanism for Contracting Parties to agree on management measures, and produces relevant publications;
(e) publishing and otherwise disseminating reports of its findings and statistic


The organization was established at a Conference of Plenipotentiaries, which prepared and adopted the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 14 May 1966. After a ratification process, the Convention entered formally into force on 21 March 1969.

On the 18 November 2019 the Commission approved the protocol to amend the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. The new text modernizes the Commission and provides a mandate to manage of tuna and tuna-like fishes and elasmobranchs that are oceanic, pelagic, and highly migratory.

Legal framework Area of competence All waters of the Atlantic Ocean, including adjacent seas.
ICCAT area of competence - High seas, National waters
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries. Dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.
Species and stocks coverage

Tuna, tuna-like species and pelagic sharks fished in the ICCAT Convention area. Currently ICCAT is conducting full assessment of the following stocks:

Currently ICCAT is conducting full assessment of the following stocks:

Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacores) (Atlantic stock); bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) (Atlantic stock); skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) (East and West Atlantic stocks); albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) (North and South Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks); Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus t.) (West Atlantic stock and East Atlantic and Mediterranean stock); swordfish (Xiphias gladius) (North and South Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks); sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) (East and West Atlantic stock); blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) (Atlantic stock); white marlin (Tetrapturus albidus) (Atlantic stock; blue shark (Prionace glauca) (North and South Atlantic stocks); shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) (North and South Atlantic stocks); portbeagle (Lamna nasus) (Northwest, Northeast and Southwest Atlantic stocks).

Other species under study are:

Longbill spearfish (Tetrapturus pfluegeri); roundscale spearfish (Tetrapturus georgii); Mediterranean spearfish (Tetrapturus belone); bullet tuna (Auxis rochei rochei); frigate tuna (Auxis thazard thazard); Atlantic Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus); Serra Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus brasiliensis) little tuna (Euthynnus alletteratus, Euthynnus affinis); Atlantic bonito (Sarda sarda); Plain bonito (Orcynopsis unicolor); Cero (Scomberomorus regalis); King mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla); Scomberomorus unclassified (Scomberomorus spp.); West African Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus tritor); Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri).

Upon the entry into force of the amendments to the Convention as developed by the Working Group on Convention Amendment, the term “elasmobranchs that are oceanic, pelagic, and highly migratory” shall be understood to include the species as follows:

    Rhincodon typus (Smith 1828) – Whale shark,

    Pseudocarcharias kamoharai (Matsubara 1936) – Crocodile shark
    Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus 1758) – Great white shark,
    Isurus oxyrinchus (Rafinesque 1810) – Shortfin mako,
    Isurus paucus (Guitart Manday 1966) – Longfin mako,
    Lamna nasus (Bonnaterre 1788) - Porbeagle,
    Cetorhinus maximus (Gunnerus 1765) – Basking shark,
    Alopias superciliosus (Lowe 1841) – Bigeye thresher,
    Alopias vulpinus (Bonnaterre 1788) – Thresher
    Carcharhinus falciformis (Müller & Henle 1839) – Silky shark,
    Carcharhinus galapagensis (Snodgrass & Heller 1905) – Galapagos shark,
    Carcharhinus longimanus (Poey 1861) – Oceanic whitetip shark,
    Prionace glauca (Linnaeus 1758) – Blue shark
    Sphyrna lewini (Griffith & Smith 1834) – Scalloped hammerhead,
    Sphyrna mokarran (Rüppell 1837) – Great hammerhead,
    Sphyrna zygaena (Linnaeus 1758) – Smooth hammerhead

    Pteroplatytrygon violacea (Bonaparte 1832) – Pelagic stingray,
    Manta alfredi (Krefft 1868) – NA*,
    Manta birostris (Walbaum 1792) – Giant manta,
    Mobula hypostoma (Bancroft 1839) – Lesser devil ray,
    Mobula japonica (Müller & Henle 1841) – NA,
    Mobula mobular (Bonnaterre 1788) – Devil fish,
    Mobula tarapacana (Philippi 1892) – Chilean devil ray,
    Mobula thurstoni (Lloyd 1908) – Smoothtail mobula,

* NA – Common name not available
LanguagesEnglish, French and Spanish Membership

53 Contracting Parties: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Cabo Verde, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Curaçao, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, European Union, France, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, Japan, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent/Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Syrian Arab Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Boliv Rep of Venezuela.

6 Cooperating States: Bolivia (Plurinat.State), Costa Rica, Colombia, Colombia, Niger, Guyana, Suriname.

Observers: Observers may be admitted under the Guidelines and Criteria for Granting Observer Status at ICCAT


ICCAT consists of the Commission, the Council, the Secretariat, the Committees, the Panels and the Working Groups

Composed of Contracting Party Delegations, the Commission carries out the objectives set forth in the Convention

Council which shall consist of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairmen of the Commission together with the representatives of not less than four and not more than eight Contracting Parties. The Council shall perform such functions as are assigned to it by the Convention or the Commission, and shall meet at least once in the interim between regular meetings of the Commission.

The Secretariat has its headquarters in Madrid, Spain and is represented by the Executive Secretary.

Standing Committee on Finance and Administration (STACFAD)
Advises the Commission on matters relating to the Executive Secretary and his staff, on the budget, time and place of meetings, publications of the Commission and on any other matters referred to it by the Commission

Conservation and Management Measures Compliance Committee
Reviews all aspects of compliance with ICCAT conservation and management measures in the ICCAT Convention Area, with particular reference to compliance with such measures by ICCAT Contracting Parties and cooperating Parties, Entities or Fishing Entities.

Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS)
Develops and recommends to the Commission such policies and procedures in the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of fishery statistics as may be necessary to ensure that the Commission has available at all times complete, current and equivalent statistics on fishery activities in the Convention area, as well as biological information on the stocks that are fished. The SCRS also coordinates various national research activities, develops plans for special international cooperative research programs, carries out stock assessments, and advises the Commission on the need for specific conservation and management measures.

Panels (4)
Each Panel shall be responsible for keeping under review the species, group of species, or geographic area under its purview, and for collecting scientific and other information relating thereto; may propose to the Commission, upon the basis of scientific investigations, recommendations for joint action by the Contracting Parties; may recommend to the Commission studies and investigations necessary for obtaining information relating to its species, group of species, or geographic area, as well as the coordination of programmes of investigation by the Contracting Parties.

Permanent Working Group on the Improvement of ICCAT Statistics and Conservation Measures (PWG)
Obtains, compiles and reviews all available information on the fishing activities of non-Contracting Parties, for species under the purview of ICCAT, including details on the type, flag and name of vessels and reported or estimated catches by species and area.

Standing Working Group on Dialogue between Fisheries Scientists and Managers (SWGSM)
A subsidiary body promotes the mutual understanding between both parties

EIMS Publications Database Media materials Web sources


Camille Jean Pierre MANEL (Executive Secretary)

C/ Corazón de María, 8, 6th floor, 28002 Madrid, Spain

Telephone: +34 914165600

Email: Camille Jean Pierre Manel

Email: [email protected]

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