19th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas Concludes

Expanded economic opportunities for Canada’s fishermen while ensuring sustainable stocks

November 17, 2014 - Ottawa, Ontario

The annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) concluded today in Genoa, Italy. Of particular significance to Canada, Commission Members agreed to a moderate increase to the total allowable catch (TAC) of Western Atlantic Bluefin tuna for 2015 and 2016, increasing the TAC from 1,750 tonnes to 2,000 tonnes per year. Based on the 2014 stock assessment update, at this catch level the Western Atlantic Bluefin tuna stock will continue to increase.
Canada’s quota will now be 452.5 tonnes for each of the next two years, with the possibility of an additional annual transfer of up to 108.9 tonnes from Mexico, depending on quota availability.
Canada advocated for this moderate increase to the total allowable catch for Western Atlantic Bluefin tuna. Canada has one of the best managed tuna fisheries in the world – one that is based on scientific advice, effective management, and strict enforcement. As a result of our efforts, the Western Atlantic Bluefin tuna 2014 stock status update indicates the stock has grown substantially in recent years and could support such an increase.
Canada’s leadership role in addressing important questions about the stock status for Atlantic Bluefin tuna included hosting working group meetings of scientists and fisheries managers in both 2013 and 2014. In addition to continuing Canada’s comprehensive research program for Atlantic Bluefin tuna, Canada will continue to work with its international partners on the next full stock assessment, scheduled for 2016, to better understand the overall stock dynamic, including the mixing of the Eastern and Western populations.
Find more information about the Commission and Canada’s role within ICCAT.
Quick Facts
• Canada is a founding member of ICCAT, which is the Regional Fisheries Management Organization responsible for the management of all Atlantic tunas and tuna like species.
• Western Atlantic Bluefin tuna, North Atlantic Swordfish and other tuna fisheries (such as yellowfin and bigeye) have a combined annual landed value of approximately $25M for more than 750 licensed fishermen in coastal communities across Atlantic Canada.
• In addition there are important and growing economic opportunities associated with the hook and release Atlantic Bluefin tuna fishery.
• Canada takes strong measures to conserve Bluefin tuna in its fisheries, such as:
o Limits on the number of licenses issued;
o Closely monitoring catches: every fish caught in the Canadian fishery is individually tagged and tracked to market and the end product is traceable; and
o Harsh penalties for illegal and unreported fishing.
“Canada supported the revised total allowable catch, as it will provide expanded economic opportunities for Canadian fishermen in many coastal communities, while allowing this important stock to continue to grow. Canada has taken significant actions and led by example to ensure the sustainability of its tuna fishery in the Atlantic. We will continue to work with our international partners to improve our collective knowledge of this important stock.”
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
Associated Links
• Department of Fisheries and Oceans – ICCAT main page
• The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) official website
- 30 -

Frank Stanek
Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Sophie Doucet
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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