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Brazil obtains international authorization to maintain tuna fishing volume

Click on the flag for more information about Brazil BRAZIL
Thursday, November 30, 2023, 10:00 (GMT + 9)

In the final round of negotiations that ended on November 20th in the city of Cairo, Egypt, Brazil obtained authorization from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to maintain the fishing limit for mandolin yellowfin tuna (Thunnus obesus ) by 6 thousand tons without having to “return” all at once the 1,587 tons fished in excess in 2022.

The country has abandoned international sustainability treaties since 2019, but the calculation basis for the “pay back” depends only on the balance sheet from two years ago. At the first ICCAT meetings, held in March and June, the country was threatened with having its right to fish albacore revoked.

Fuente: Ministério da Agricultura e Pecuária Brasil

The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture (MPA), which led the delegation that participated in the plenary sessions in Cairo, considered the approval a great victory. To avoid punishment that would have consequences for the entire chain, the Brazilian delegation presented a plan for the return over five years of the surplus of 1,587 tons fished in 2022.

Source: Fishider / FIS -->

To reinforce the request, the team argued that the new government recreated the MPA and strengthened control measures and research on catches and landings of bigeye tuna this year.

The commission took into account that Brazil is already paying in 2023 for the excess catch of 553 t of tuna in 2021 and established a National Regulatory Framework to overcome the continuation of excessive catch from 2023, under the coordination of the MPA.

“Noting Brazil's willingness to reimburse accumulated surplus catches and comply with ICCAT tuna management and conservation requirements, the commission recommends that the 2022 tuna overfishing will be reimbursed over a 5-year period, from 2024 to 2028, as follows form: 355 tons in 2024 and 308 tons from 2025 to 2028”, says the approved document.

The president of the Brazilian Association of Fish Industries (Abipesca), Eduardo Lobo, who sent the executive director of Abipesca, Jairo Gund, to follow the discussions in Cairo, hopes, however, that the country will not even need to “return” anything in 2024 because a meeting next year could define an increase in Brazil's fishing limit.

This year's agenda was a proposal from Brazil together with Japan, South Africa and Uruguay that established a global tuna fishing quota at 73 thousand tons, distributing larger slices to developing countries. At the Cairo meeting, however, there was no consensus on any of the proposals presented. The countries therefore maintained their current quotas.

Villaça, on the other hand, thinks that it is unlikely that the council's member countries will reach an agreement on quotas because other countries, such as those in the Caribbean, also want to participate in yellowfin fishing. “The secret is to convince the large producers in Europe, China and Taiwan to give up participation in a competitive, fierce and political environment.”

The president of Conepe, a non-profit civil society entity, which brings together entities representing the fishing and aquaculture sector in Brazil, such as shipowners' unions and fish processing industries, emphasizes that a lot of control and commitment from the entire chain is needed in order not to return to go beyond limits.

Tuna fishing is widespread throughout the Brazilian coast. It demands international agreement because tuna is a migratory fish, that is, it migrates between the seas and belongs to the world.

The activity involves both artisanal and industrial fishermen. The largest production occurs on the coast of Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará. On the south coast, it is more common to fish one by one, with a rod and live bait. In the Northeast, the most widespread technique is surface longlining, but, according to the MPA, fishing known as “associated schooling”, which combines artisanal and industrial fishing techniques with school attractors, has been gaining ground, which was regulated last year.

By November 17, tuna fishing, which occurs year-round without closed season, had reached 5,001 tons. According to data from the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce, sales abroad this year generated almost US$38.9 million for the country and should exceed US$41.6 million in 2022 by the end of the year.

Source: Abrapes.org | Globo rural (Translated from the original in Portuguese)

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