Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ

Atlantic Ocean coastal states come together to increase understanding of sustainable tuna management

1 September 2016

*This news item is also available in Spanish and French.
** Report of the workshop is available here

Ghana, 31 August 2016 - Atlantic Ocean developing coastal states will join forces to improve the understanding of better management of the shared Atlantic tuna stocks. Improved management of Atlantic tuna will provide long term economic and environmental benefits for all countries.

Representatives from a number of Atlantic Ocean countries joined with the partners of the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) in Ghana this week to explore and discuss the development of tuna harvest strategies with international tuna experts. Around the world, regional fisheries management organizations have started to adopt the core elements of harvest strategies, to provide a clear pre-agreed decision framework about what actions to take the if stocks are declining or need rebuilding, or if fishing mortality is excessive. Harvest strategies that include harvest control rules, with associated reference points and input and output controls are a critical aspect of effective modern tuna fisheries management. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which manages tuna resources in the Atlantic Ocean, is at the start of its journey and this workshop will empower coastal states to meaningfully engage in the process of development of the strategies for key stocks under ICCAT management.

The workshop, developed by Ocean Outcomes, was part of the global Common Oceans Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) Tuna Project partially funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), coordinated by the FAO and with WWF leading a number of the project outputs. The Project harnesses the efforts of a large and diverse array of partners, including the five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), governments, inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector to achieve responsible, efficient and sustainable tuna production and biodiversity conservation in the areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).

This workshop is part of a series of workshops aimed at supporting the improved understanding of the application of the precautionary approach through harvest strategies by tuna RFMOs. The Common Oceans partnership supports opportunities to share ideas, best practices and experiences amongst those involved in fisheries management.

Daniel Suddaby, WWF's Global Tuna Governance Lead said:
"This year, we have seen the adoption of harvest control rules in the Indian and Eastern Pacific Oceans for some key tuna species. I am encouraged by the workshop attendees that they will also be empowered to adopt harvest control rules in the Atlantic soon. WWF is eager to continue working with delegates around the world and our partners to bring about tangible improvements to tuna fisheries management globally."

Alejandro Anganuzzi, Global Coordinator of the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, at FAO said:
"There is a clear trend in all tuna RFMOs towards strengthening their management practices by responding to concerns about sustainability and the protection of biodiversity in the high seas. ICCAT is not the exception, and we are confident that this workshop will reinforce the ability of its member States to fully participate in the ongoing process of adoption of management procedures, a key element of addressing those concerns."

Jerry Scott, Fisheries Consultant, International Seafood Sustainability Foundation said:
The sustainable tuna fisheries management framework that ICCAT agreed to in 2011 supports efforts toward food security for the region. This workshop offers a platform for western Africa states to join other ICCAT members in building on that framework, while progressing Atlantic tuna fisheries toward becoming capable of unconditional MSC certification. Importantly, these collaborative efforts can also culminate in improved profitability and employment opportunities for the region.

For further information, please contact:

  • Mr Alejandro Anganuzzi, Global Coordinator for the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project | [email protected]