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

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) is the regional fisheries management organization responsible for the conservation and management of tuna and tuna-like species, associated species and their ecosystems, throughout the Eastern Pacific Ocean, from Canada, in the North, to Chile, in the South, and French Polynesia in the East. It also provides the Secretariat of the 1998 Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP). The oldest of the five currently existing tuna RFMOs, the IATTC was established in 1949, through a bilateral convention between the United States and Costa Rica, as an organisation exclusively dedicated to scientific research. Over the years, its mandate and activities expanded until it became a full-fledged RFMO, through the process that was formalized by and culminated with the adoption in 2003 of the “Antigua Convention” (2003), which entered into force on 27 August 2010.

In addition to decisions on its constitutional and operational matters, the IATTC has adopted a number of binding resolutions that regulate the assistance to developing members and capacity building, the processes concerning provision of data and their processing and release, the management of the authorized fishing fleets and vessels (including through the IATTC Regional Vessel Register and the management of fleet capacity), compliance and IUU fishing, the use of specific gears and techniques, monitoring and control in particular through observers programme and VMS. Through binding resolutions, the IATTC has also adopted an extended range of conservation and management measures for tuna and tuna-like species, tropical tunas in general as well as specific measures for bluefin tuna, albacore tuna and bigeye tuna. Other resolutions regulate bycatch and establish conservation measures for associated species (to the exception of dolphins which are covered by the AIDCP): sharks and rays, seabirds and sea turtles.

Mandate

As defined in Article II of the 2003 Antigua Convention, the objective of the IATTC is to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fish stocks covered by the Convention, in accordance with the relevant rules of international law

In addition of the duty for the Commission to apply the precautionary approach as described in the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and UN Fish Stocks Agreement, its functions are defined in Article VI of the Antigua Convention. They may be summarized as follows:

(a) promote, carry out and coordinate scientific research concerning the abundance, biology and biometry in the Convention Area of fish stocks;
(b) adopt standards for collection, verification, and timely exchange and reporting of data concerning the fisheries for fish stocks;
(c) adopt measures that are based on the best scientific evidence available to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fish and to maintain or restore the populations of harvested species at levels of abundance which can produce the maximum sustainable yield;
(d) determine whether, according to the best scientific information available, a specific fish stock is fully fished or overfished;
(f) adopt, as necessary, conservation and management measures and recommendations for species belonging to the same ecosystem and that are affected by fishing for, or dependent on or associated with, the fish stocks covered by the Antigua Convention;
(g) adopt propriate measures to avoid, reduce and minimize waste, discards, catch by lost or discarded gear, catch of non-target species (both fish and non-fish species) and impacts on associated or dependent species, in particular endangered species;
(h) adopt appropriate measures to prevent or eliminate over-fishing and excess fishing capacity;
(i) establish a comprehensive program for data collection and monitoring;
(k) promote, to the extent practicable, the development and use of selective, environmentally safe and cost-effective fishing gear and techniques and such other related activities, including activities connected with, inter alia, transfer of technology and training;
(l) develop criteria for, and make decisions relating to, the allocation of total allowable catch, or total allowable fishing capacity;
(m) apply the precautionary approach;
(n) promote the application of any relevant provision of the Code of Conduct and of other relevant international instrument;
(o) appoint the Director of the Commission;
(p) approve its program of work, the accounts for the past budgetary period and its budget;
(t) provide the secretariat for the AIDCP.

History

The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission was created by the Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, signed between the United States and Costa Rica on May 31, 1949. Although bilateral in nature at its origin, it allowed for participation and membership of other countries. In response to the evolution of circumstances, its activities gradually expanded beyond its original mandate, which was essentially circumscribed to scientific research, to include aspects related to the conservation and management of the targeted resources. It became increasingly necessary to reform and overhaul the organization, particularly when in the 1990s a number of instruments were adopted at the global level, such as the 1992 Agenda 21 and Rio Declaration, the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement. The negotiation process of a new treaty started in 1998 and culminated in 2003 with the adoption of the “Antigua Convention”, which entered into force on 27 August 2010.

The Commission comprises currently 21 members, including 19 States, one regional economic integration organisation (the EU) and one “fishing entity” (Chinese Taipei, through the corresponding “written communication of commitment” provided to the Depositary) (see below). Only three of these members are not Parties yet to the Antigua Convention (Colombia, Vanuatu and Venezuela, the latter having signed the Convention in 2004).

Legal framework Area of competence

The IATTC area of application comprises the area of the Pacific Ocean bounded by the coastline of North, Central, and South America and by the following lines: the 50°N parallel from the coast of North America to its intersection with the 150°W meridian; the 150°W meridian to its intersection with the 50°S parallel; and the 50°S parallel to its intersection with the coast of South America.

IATTC 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 coverageTuna and tuna-like species and other species of fish taken by vessels fishing for tunas and tuna-like species. Languages

Spanish and English.

Members

Member: Belize, Canada, China, Taiwan Province of China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, France, Guatemala, Kiribati, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Republic of Korea, United States of America, Vanuatu, Boliv Rep of Venezuela.

Cooperating Non-Members: Bolivia (Plurinat.State), Chile, Honduras, Indonesia, Liberia.

Structure
  • Commission: is composed of its members, its Committees and other subsidiary organs such as working groups and the Secretariat.
  • Committee for the Review of Implementation of Measures adopted by the Commission: it primarily reviews and monitors compliance with conservation and management measures adopted by the Commission.
  • Scientific Advisory Committee: it primarily reviews the scientific plans, proposals and research programs of the Commission, and provide to the Commission such advice as may be appropriate.
  • Committee on Administration and Finance: it primarily reviews the draft budget as well as matters of administrative and financial character and makes the appropriate recommendations to the Commission.
  • Working groups: several working groups, some permanent (e.g. the Permanent Working Group on Fleet Capacity); some ad hoc (e.g. the Ad Hoc Working Group on Resolutions).
  • Secretariat: it implements the Antigua Convention and the decisions taken by the governing bodies. It is led by the Director who represents the Commission for a term of four years, which may be renewed by consensus. From its origin, the Commission has conserved two unique characteristics among other RFMOs: its own high-level scientific staff (see Article XIII of the Antigua Convention) as well as several field offices and a research laboratory in Achotines, Panama.
EIMS Publications Database Media materials Social network Web sources

Contact

Comisión Interamericana del Atún Tropical/Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission

Jean-Francois Pulvenis (Director ad interim)

8901 La Jolla Shores Drive

La Jolla CA 92037-1509 EE.UU. - USA

Telephone: (858) 546 7100

Fax: (858) 546 7133

Email: jpulvenis @iattc.org

 
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