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Improving international fisheries management by prioritizing geopolitical issues: A case study on Atlantic shortfin mako management Public Deposited

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  • Managing internationally-shared fish stocks, those that migrate from one country’s coast to another is incredibly difficult and requires international cooperation. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is the regulatory body responsible for managing tuna and tuna-like species in Atlantic and adjacent seas fisheries. Although ICCAT has a strong conservation mandate, the abundances of pelagic species they manage have plummeted under their oversight. This is the case for Atlantic populations of shortfin mako sharks. In recent (2017) negotiations held in Marrakech, Morocco, delegates failed to agree on scientifically-advised catch limits and monitoring measures for Atlantic shortfin mako recovery. Most notable were objections by Spain, Morocco, and Portugal, who presented strong opposition to placing observers on industrial tuna fishing vessels. The Strait of Gibraltar, an area heavily fished by these countries, is also a well-known route for human trafficking from Northern Africa into Europe. Could the motivations behind the negotiating stances of Spain, Morocco, and Portugal be due to fear of exposing the interconnection between their industrial tuna fisheries and human trafficking? Put more simply: When are fisheries management decisions not even about fisheries at all? This research will shed light on the social and geo-political issues, like human trafficking, that are influencing the decisions being made in international management of shared fish stocks.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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