Sri Lanka tuna meet hears call for Indian Ocean quotas

Mar 18, 2011 (LBO) – Industrial countries should reduce their fleets in the Indian Ocean, enabling coastal states to increase their catch but depleting stocks should not be over-exploited, the head of a regional fish management body meeting in Sri Lanka said. Rondolph Payet, chairman of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, said their meeting in Colombo must “seriously look” at compliance, stock management issues and improving the efficiency of the organisation.

“On the aspirations of coastal states we have to be careful that we are not over-zealous on how far we expand these fisheries despite being legitimate,” he told the opening of the 15th session of the IOTC.

“What I would like to see is that as the coastal countries fisheries grow, the distant water fishing nations should provide the development space through a fleet reduction programme.

“Even then, this is not carte blanche for coastal states to exponentially increase fishing capacity beyond the limits of the stocks as laid down” by IOTC scientists, Payet said.

The IOTC is meeting in Colombo to review tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean and look at ways of sustainable management, including the imposition of quotas on member states.

Coastal states have expressed concern over industr