M&S joins calls for EU to clamp down on harmful Indian Ocean tuna fishing methods | Fishing

M&S joins requires EU to clamp down on dangerous Indian Ocean tuna fishing strategies | Fishing

The EU is underneath stress to considerably scale back its enormous fleet of fishing vessels’ use of “fish aggregating gadgets” which facilitate the catch of enormous numbers of fish and additional contribute to overfishing.

The letter, signed by Marks & Spencer and greater than 100 environmental teams, together with the Worldwide Pole and Line Basis, warns EU officers that these amenities (FADs) are one of many primary contributors to the overfishing of yellowfin tuna within the Indian Ocean as a result of they catch excessive numbers of juveniles.

FADs have a “excessive environmental value”, they are saying, as a result of endangered turtles, sharks and marine mammals are sometimes caught when the gadgets are surrounded by the huge nets of enormous tuna vessels. Misplaced, decommissioned or deserted FADs may trigger environmental harm.

The EU ought to lead by backing powerful measures to restrict the usage of gear as a gathering with regulators, the Indian Ocean Tuna Fee (IOTC), begins in Mombasa this week, teams say.

Yellowfin tuna packed for market, Tenerife, Canary Islands Spain
Yellowfin tuna packed for the market in Tenerife, Spain. This species has been overfished within the Indian Ocean since 2015. Photograph: Phil Crean A/Alamy

Yellowfin tuna, one of many quickest and strongest marine predators, has been overfished within the Indian Ocean since 2015. The area’s bigeye tuna inhabitants has additionally not too long ago been assessed as overfished.

Sainsbury’s and the German chain Edeka earlier than joined Marks & Spencer in calling on states to watch, handle and restrict FADs to restrict overfishing and restore yellowfin shares.

A single vessel can use as much as 300 free-floating FADs, normally consisting of a raft and submerged materials the place the fish are collected. 1000’s are misplaced or deserted yearly. The rise in the usage of FADs by industrial vessels has led to elevated scrutiny of their influence on marine ecosystems. Many retailers, together with Sainsbury’s and M&S, promote own-label “FAD-free” tuna.

The 33 IOTC events are assembly from 3-5 February to debate proposals to watch, handle and restrict the usage of FADs. India has proposed a ban on FADs utilized by purse seine vessels. The EU proposal proposes the usage of biodegradable materials in FADs to mitigate environmental harm in addition to enhance traceability and accountability. limiting the use of FADs per vessel to 280 by 2024 and 260 by 2026.

However stricter measures are wanted to guard shares, shield the setting and guarantee transparency, environmentalists say. “Everybody agrees that FADs are an issue,” stated Stephen Ndegwa of Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture. “We should always agree on the precautionary precept to guard the setting, however the EU proposal doesn’t limit FAD sufficient.”

Not like Kenya, the Maldives and different coastal states with out sponsored deep-sea fleets, the EU might fish elsewhere if shares collapse. “If the provides right here run out, the EU can transfer to a different ocean. However the coastal states have nowhere else to go. The EU desires scientific proof, however provides are collapsing. Why await scientific proof when the inventory is in dangerous form?

The IOTC is the one tuna regulator that doesn’t limit FADs at sure instances of the 12 months, Ndegwa stated.

Kenya desires to ban FADs for 3 months annually, halve the variety of vessels used to 150 and introduce a register of the gadgets to raised establish and observe them. Its proposal is supported by 11 different African and Asian coastal states, together with South Africa, the Maldives, Madagascar, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Though the Indian Ocean borders Africa, Asia and Australia, the largest hunter of yellowfin overfishing – and certainly of all tropical tuna during the last three years – is the EU. The EU’s distant water fleet, primarily in Spain and France, harvested 243,001 tonnes in 2021. IOTC date.

Adam Ziyad, Director Normal of the Maldives Ministry of Fisheries, stated that the usage of FADs isn’t clear sufficient. Ziyad, who can also be IOTC vice-chairman, stated: “There’s a critical lack of evaluation and information on what is occurring within the FAD fishery. They work in a black gap. There could also be tens of 1000’s of FAD within the Indian Ocean. And we do not know what number of turtles or sharks will catch them.”

Ziyad urged the EU to take a more durable stance on restrictions: “It’s as much as the EU to step up.


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