Straddling Fish Stocks Agreement Parties
The Parties to UNFSA met twice to review their implementation: at a Review Conference in 20063 and a Review Conference resumed in 2010.4 Each meeting made recommendations to improve cooperation and improve the management of global stocks.5 The Parties will conduct a third review in May 2016. The agreement does not provide for specific deadlines for the recovery of stocks, but compliance with objective MSY standards and the objective of taking advantage of the best available scientific knowledge should reduce the political influence on the definition of catch limitations and the reconstruction of targets. Between 2013 and 2015, nine RFMOs adopted requirements for numbers that did not cost much to obtain. Most entered into force on 1 January 2016. Despite this significant progress, RFMO member States continue to allow vessels without identification numbers to fish in convention areas. RFMOs should extend the requirements to active fishing vessels of any size to ensure that all can be identified. A review of the measures taken by the five tuna RFMOs shows some progress in adopting harvesting strategies that provide the predetermined framework for fisheries management decisions, for example. B how and when quotas will be set. Those strategies shall include specific rules to ensure that measures are taken when stock sizes or fisheries contravene scientifically based reference points. Nevertheless, progress is limited. No management body has adopted harvest strategies for more than 25% of a region`s stocks.
Target benchmarks «must meet management objectives»15 and should not be exceeded «on average». 16 Where the size of the stock decreases or fishing mortality exceeds a defined reference point, managers implement a `conservation and management measure agreed in advance`, known as the `harvest control rule`. The details depend on when a target or limit is exceeded. Improving data collection will not improve the health of stocks without better application of the precautionary approach. Discussions on the correct definition of the capture of sharks, targeted or incidental, should not prevent effective management by the RFMO Parties. Conservation measures that apply the ecosystem approach must be implemented without delay. In the absence of data, all shark fishing should be prohibited until appropriate management measures can be taken to ensure the sustainability of catches for these endangered species. While some depleted tunas, such as eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna, are in the process of recovery, many stocks managed by the five RFMOs continue to be overexploited and overfished. The failure of Member State governments to ensure the recovery of depleted stocks means that they are not meeting their obligations under UNFSA. This issue needs to be addressed at the highest level and could be an important outcome of the conference. In accordance with Article 6(3)(b) of the Agreement, States cooperating through RFMOs are to implement the precautionary approach by establishing specific reference points on the basis of fishing mortality or stock size, and undertake to act in the event of non-compliance with those benchmarks.
Annex II to the Agreement defines the way in which these reference points are to be defined and calls for the adoption of two species: conservation points or boundaries, reference points and management or destination reference points. .