The Political Economy of Tuna Exploitation in the Western Indian Ocean - Geopolitics and Resource Management Public Deposited

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  • This paper is based on work that the authors have carried out on EU financed projects in the South Western Indian Ocean (SWIO) in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC)¹ on a range of fisheries management issue including, stock assessment, tagging and monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS). The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) is a non-governmental organization established under Article XIV of the FAO constitution. Its mandate is to manage tuna stocks and other main tuna-like species of the Indian Ocean and adjacent waters. It brings together the coastal states of the Indian Ocean and some of the states that fish tuna and tuna-like species in the WIO. The twenty three member states of the CTOI submit catch data to the CTOI. The CTOI is the only organisation that actively collects such information. This information is then disaggregated and through specific Working Parties analysed to form the basis of management decisions and resolutions and recommendations to its contracting parties. Large pelagic resources (tuna and tuna like fish) constitute the single largest marine resource at the disposal of the small island states of the IOC (with the exception of Madagascar). Long-term sustainable management of tuna and associated resources is without doubt of critical importance both to the coastal states of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) and to the dependent markets of the European Union and Asia. Tuna contributes significantly to foreign exchange generation through receipts from fishing agreements, exports of tuna and tuna products as well as by the expenditure of foreign fishing fleets in the ports of the region and access/licence fees. The paper considers some of major issues - is the rent extraction from tuna fisheries optimal from the point of view of the WIO states and what are the key issues for the future of tuna fisheries? What are the threats to the regions tuna fisheries? - illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, over exploitation and what are the options for the WIO states in the future for the better management of the tuna resources. Fish has become a major world commodity with increased trade, globalisation and increasing demand. Within marine fisheries, tuna is one of the high value commodities in terms of aggregate value and for certain species as a product for high income consumers who buy sushi and other tuna based products. The paper also looks at the geopolitics of the tuna fisheries in terms of resource competition between countries.
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  • Barnes, Colin T. and Neil Ansell. 2006. The Political Economy of Tuna Exploitation in the Western Indian Ocean - Geopolitics and Resource Management. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 11-14, 2006, Portsmouth, UK: Rebuilding Fisheries in an Uncertain Environment. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2006. CD ROM. ISBN 0-9763432-3-1
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