Fishing & Boating News
ICCAT wrapup: U.S. negotiating team holds the line for marlin and swordfish
Emphasis on the value of recreational fishing slowly advancing at the annual meetings
ICCAT is an inter-governmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and migratory species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. The 40-year old commission includes nearly 50 member nations.
As the negotiations opened, intense media attention was directed at the U.S. and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Lubchenco's presence was a clear indication that the U.S. was increasing its visibility at ICCAT. She delivered the U.S. conservation message as one, supporting science-based management for sustainable stocks and long term fishing opportunities and jobs for both the recreational and commercial fisheries.
"This was the first time we have heard a clear statement emphasizing the economic and cultural value of recreational fishing being delivered by the U.S. at ICCAT," said Ellen Peel, TBF President, who served as the U.S. Recreational Fishing Commissioner.
Randi Parks Thomas served as the U.S. Commercial Fishing Commissioner and Russell Smith, NOAA's Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries, was the lead U.S. Commissioner and negotiator. Dr. Russell Nelson, TBF's Chief Scientist, represented the organization as an official observer lobbying for conservation and keeping anglers globally informed via TBF's blog site thebillfishfoundation.blogspot.com .
Some positive results included a continuing of Atlantic marlin conservation measures requiring release of live marlin from longline vessels and quotas on commercial landings.
"These conservation measures have resulted in the first positive increase in white marlin stocks in over three decades," noted Peel. "Negotiating before ICCAT for the conservation of species important for U.S. recreational fisheries is extremely challenging," she said "but in recent years Brazil has arisen as a very important partner in billfish conservation."
Much needed conservation measures for bigeye tuna and Mediterranean swordfish did not move forward.
(Attached photo) --- Dr. Lubchenco delivered the U.S. conservation message as one, supporting science-based management for sustainable stocks and long term fishing opportunities and jobs for both the recreational and commercial fisheries. Among the U.S. delegation to ICCAT was Ellen Peel, (left) President of The Billfish Foundation, who served as the U.S. Recreational Fishing Commissioner and (right) Russell Smith, NOAA's Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries and lead U.S. Commissioner.
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