REGIONAL FISHERIES MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS: AN EXAMINATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ATLANTIC TUNA AS AN INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES POLICY INSTRUMENT
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Tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) are intergovernmental organizations that carry out a diversity of tasks concerning the various tuna (and tuna-like) fisheries of the world including stock management and data collection. Over time, due to declining stocks, it has become clear that these organizations have limitations and there are issues that must be resolved for the preservation of the tuna fishery and other fish stocks worldwide. The political ecology governing the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) illustrates RFMO structure and international fisheries policy in general and the issues facing the legislative and administrative components that comprise ICCAT. This report outlines the structure of one RFMO, ICCAT to illustrate in more detail the inner workings of a RFMO with a large membership. Looking closely at the specifics of the management of two particular stocks, Atlantic bigeye tuna and Atlantic swordfish, we can glimpse the complexity of the politics of migratory fish management, international fisheries policy in general, and the magnitude of the task set out for these voluntary, non-binding institutions. This paper is focused on how the RFMO manage the fishing of stocks. And in so managing, examines the political, social, and biological issues facing the legislative and administrative components that comprise ICCAT. The mandates of each RFMO governing tuna species worldwide are compared to reveal consistencies and inconsistencies in the basic documents governing these organizations. Finally, there is a summary of the issues undermining RFMO success including under reporting, misreporting, illegal, unregulated, unreported catches, fleet overcapacity, political gamesmanship, and lack of enforcement of conservation and management measures. In addition, and as a result of the examination of modern pressures on current policy, suggestions will be made for new measures to strengthen existing policy that include consideration of environmental, legal, political, economic, and social aspects of the highly migratory fish trade.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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