Tuna-fishing nations hammered out a temporary plan to stop overfishing of Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) at a June meeting, but fatal weaknesses may sink it, experts say. The highly prized yellowfin stock is a few years from collapse, scientists warn. Yet, distant-water fishing parties like the European Union and coastal states have struggled to agree on how to reduce catches. The latest round of negotiations at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) centered on proposals by the EU and the island nation of Maldives. Members adopted a revised version of the Maldives’ plan after a week of hectic talks that concluded on June 11. A stock crash will hit EU-dominated commercial fisheries and endanger a vital nutrition source for two dozen Indian Ocean coastal states, including some of the world’s poorest countries like Madagascar, Somalia and Yemen. The broader ecosystem impacts of wiping out a species whose habitat sprawls across the entire western Indian Ocean are unknown. While the Maldives put forth a more ambitious plan than the EU, the one finally agreed on is less so. “The rebuilding plan is toothless and weak,” said Umair Shahid, WWF’s Indian Ocean tuna manager. “It was watered down quite drastically.” The Maldives proposed a 35% reduction for distant-water fishing members like the EU that caught a quarter of the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna catch in 2019, the largest share for any member. This was slashed to 21%. Considering vessels controlled by EU companies but flagged to other nations, the bloc…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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