Did You Know?
In 2010, 157 Canadian vessels harvested 6,500 tonnes of North Pacific albacore tuna, valued at about $30 million.
The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission is a regional fisheries management organization responsible for the conservation of tuna fisheries and other fish stocks caught by tuna-fishing vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Canada’s interest in the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission is the management of North Pacific Albacore tuna.
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. The Antigua Convention entered into force on August 27, 2010.
The convention area includes the waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean east of 150° W longitude. The Canadian Albacore tuna fishery occurs within the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the adjacent Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Convention Areas; the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Convention Area includes part of the US and Canadian Exclusive Economic Zones.
Going into the 2011 annual meeting, Canada’s specific objectives were:
- The development of a Precautionary Framework for the management of all stocks managed by the organization;
- A commitment from the Commission to undertake a Performance Review;
- The adoption of Port State measures consistent with the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Agreement on PortState Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing;
- The need to prioritize work and minimize budget increases;
- The establishment of a fair and transparent financial contribution scheme under the new Antigua Convention; and
- The advancement of recommendations coming out of the Joint Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization workshops, known as the Kobe process.
The 2011 annual meeting resulted in the adoption of a number of resolutions aimed to strengthen the work of the Commission, such as:
- the establishment of a rigorous process to examine the compliance of members;
- an institutionalized approach to assisting developing states;
- enhanced monitoring and controlling measures; and
- the implementation of management and conservation measures in line with scientific advice for several key stocks, such as bigeye and yellowfin tunas, as well as bycatch species.
While progress at the meeting was achieved, an agreement could not be reached on:
- the adoption of a management measure for Pacific bluefin tuna; and
- a commitment to undertake an independent Performance Review.
These two items are a priority for Canada and we will continue to push for an agreement.
Next year, to incorporate the results of the 2011 stock assessment, Canada, in coordination with like-minded Members, will seek to have the Commission commit to more robust management of the species, incorporating the precautionary approach.
Species managed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission include: Yellowfin tuna, Bigeye tuna, Albacore tuna, Skipjack tuna, Bonito, Pacific Bluefin tuna, Sailfish, and Billfishes including Marlin and Swordfish.
The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission has 20 members: Belize, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, France, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Chinese Taipei, United States, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Cook Islands and Kiribati are Cooperating non-Parties.
Canada originally joined the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission in 1968, but withdrew its membership in 1984 when the Canadian purse seine fleet ceased to exist. This status changed again in 2001 when Canada became an observer at the Commission and a Co-operating non-Party to its convention. In August 2010 Canada once again became a full member of the Commission following the adoption of the Antigua Convention, which significantly strengthens and updates the Commission’s original Convention.
- In 2003, a new Convention entitled the Convention for the Strengthening of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (commonly known as the "Antigua Convention") was adopted by Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission’ Parties. This new Convention incorporates modern fisheries management principles including the UN Fish Stocks Agreement. It entered into force on August 27, 2010 and represents significant progress.
- In 2005, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission adopted a Resolution limiting fishing capacity for the purse-seine and long-line fleets in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Special allocations were made for several developing states to allow for their participation in the fishery. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission is the only Regional Fisheries Management Organisation to implement such a measure.
Canada's Leadership Role Top of Page
- A full member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission since 2010, Canada will work to ensure that sound conservation and management measures are adopted and based on the best available scientific advice.
- As an active participant in the joint tuna regional fisheries management organizations processto harmonize the management measures and improve cooperation between these tuna organizations, Canada will seek to advance the recommendations coming out of this process within the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission including the need to undergo a performance review within the organization.
- In 2010, Canada tabled an information paper on the development of a precautionary management framework for all stocks managed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, which requires the establishment of reference points and acceptable levels of risk. This proposal was met with interest and support from many Parties, and was forwarded to the Scientific Advisory Committee for a detailed analysis of how such a regime could be put into practice in the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. This type of initiative will help the Commission to fulfill its obligation to implement a Precautionary Approach to the management of stocks under its mandate.