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Friday, June 19, 2009

IATTC accepts Ecuadorian tuna ban proposal

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009, 02:40 (GMT + 9)

The member states of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) approved the application of a 59-day ban on tuna fishing in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO), as called for by the Ecuadorian Government.

The decision to extend the fishing prohibition from 42 to 59 days received a positive vote from 15 of the 16 countries that attended the 80th Meeting of the IATTC held last week in La Joya, the United States.

Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, France, Nicaragua, the United States, Japan, Venezuela, Guatemala, Spain, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, Republic of Korea and Vanuatu were the members that accepted the Ecuadorian proposal.

Meanwhile, Colombia asked for an ad referendum, which signifies a ‘yes’ subject to a rectification per government advisory. The country has until 15 July to decide if it adheres to the resource conservation proposal or not.

According to Ecuador’s proposal, the prohibition would begin on 1 August and extend until 29 September 2009.

Besides the accepted annual prohibition, an additional ban of 30 days will be carried out to the west of the Galapagos Islands (between 96º and 100º West, 4º North and 3º South), in an effort to conserve the long-beaked tuna, Guillermo Moran, Subsecretary of Fisheries Resources indicated.

The Colombian authorities sought to have the tuna prohibition be carried out in stages, that is, that each shipowner choose when to comply with the catch prohibition at any time of the year, Moran explained. But this condition did not satisfy the IATTC's technical recommendations.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the National Fisheries Chamber, Bruno Leone, called the accord reached in the IATTC meeting “important,” in spite of not reaching a definitive consensus, which had been expected, EL Telegrafo reports.

“It is a major accomplishment for Ecuador, because there was an atmosphere of negative perception, as if the country was the one that had been against the measures taken last year, something that was not true,” the executive indicated.

In terms of the possibility that Colombia not adhere to the agreement, “the most likely is that it will face a closing of markets,” Leone said.

The new regulations that Europe and the United States will apply to combat illegal fishing presuppose major restrictions for the countries that do not comply with the resolution of their regional entities, Leone highlighted.

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