The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) was established in 1969 and is responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. ICCAT governs all commercial fisheries for 50 member nations that have commercial fleets fishing in the Atlantic. ICCAT is very transparent and provides online access to all documents, publications, meeting minutes, databases and records. They manage hundreds of marine species and the sheer volume of material can lead to "information overload." Yet, in the thousands of pages of information that ICCAT publishes annually, the entire management policy, ICCAT Resolutions and Recommendations for Atlantic billfish since 1995 take less than 30 pages.
LINKS TO KEY DIGITAL DOCUMENTS
- ICCAT Atlantic Billfish Recommendations by Year
- Latest ICCAT Marlin Stock Assessments - white marlin 2012, blue marlin 2011
- Access to ICCAT Statistical Databases
- Annual ICCAT Meetings
- Stock Assessment Archives
- Resolutions, Recommendations and Decisions searchable database
- ICCAT Biennial Reports. The official publications produced by the Commission
- ICCAT 2015 Meeting Atlantic Billfish Recommendations
- ICCAT Manual
The Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) is responsible for developing and recommending to the Commission all policy and procedures for the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of fishery statistics. SCRS has added the caveat of "significant uncertainties" with each new white and blue marlin stock assessment since 2002 and needs to include new sampling methods to reduce uncertainties.
- SCRS Annual Presentations to the Commission
- By-Catch of Tuna Fisheries Database
- SCRS Science Strategic Plan for 2015-2020
ICCAT & SCRS BILLFISH RULINGS SINCE 1997
- 1997 - Reduce white and blue marlin landings by 25% of the 1996 total. Promote the release of live white and blue marlin
- 1998 - Landings of blue and white marlin in 2000 must not be greater than the 1999 total. Current Atlantic blue marlin biomass is at 24% of the MSY level, and that Atlantic white marlin biomass is at 23% of the MSY level; Postpone the 1999 SCRS white and blue marlin stock assessments until 2000.
- 1999 - No new Atlantic billfish recommendations
- 2000 - Establish a 2 phase Plan to Rebuild Blue Marlin and White Marlin Populations " ...blue marlin has been reduced to a level of 40% and white marlin 15% of that needed to produce maximum sustainable yield and that neither stock is likely to recover if the current levels of mortality continue into the future."
- 2001 - White marlin stock assessment in 2002. Blue marlin stock assessment postponed until 2003.
- 2002 - Significant uncertainties with the 2002 white marlin stock assessment. New stock assessments for Atlantic blue marlin and white marlin in 2005. Phase 1 of the Rebuilding Plan for Blue and White Marlin shall remain in effect through 2005 with blue marlin landings 50% of 1999 levels, white marlin 33% of 1999 levels.
- 2003 - No new Atlantic billfish recommendations
- 2004 - The 2005 stock assessments of Atlantic blue marlin and white marlin postponed until 2006, consistent with the process advised by the SCRS. Phase 1 of the Rebuilding Plan for Blue and White Marlin shall remain in effect through 2006.
- 2005 - No new Atlantic billfish recommendations
- 2006 - SCRS asks for help with data, logs and observations to make more reliable stock assessments. White and blue marlin assessments in 2010. Phase 1 of the Rebuilding Plan for Blue and White Marlin shall remain in effect through 2010. ALSO first mention of use of circle hooks and regulating artisanal fleets.
- 2007 - No specific Atlantic billfish recommendations, but evidence shows many vessels believed to be illegal, unregulated or under-reporting catches (IUU).
- 2008 - No new Atlantic billfish recommendations
- 2009 - No new Atlantic billfish recommendations
- 2010 - Phase 1 of the Rebuilding Plan for Blue and White Marlin shall remain in effect through 2011. White marlin assessment postponed until 2012.
- 2011 - New blue marlin assessment indicates that unless the recent catch levels are substantially reduced, the stock will likely continue to decline. Immediately reduce fishing mortality on blue marlin stock, by adopting a TAC of 2,000 mt or less.
- 2012 - The results of the 2012 white marlin assessment, indicated that the stock was overfished but most likely not undergoing overfishing, while noting significant uncertainty associated with the assessment. White marlin limit of 400 mt. Blue marlin 2000 mt. continued. Length minimums added for recreational anglers.
- 2013 - No new Atlantic billfish recommendations
- 2014 - No new Atlantic billfish recommendations
- 2015 - An annual limit of 2,000 t for blue marlin and 400 t for white marlin/spearfish is continued for these stocks, for 2016, 2017 and 2018. This landings limit shall be allocated among 13 nations. Work towards assuring compliance with reporting. Efforts to ensure that all blue marlin and white marlin/spearfish that are alive by the time of boarding are released in a manner that maximizes their survival. Recreational fisheries that meet or exceed the following lengths: 251 cm LJFL for blue marlin and 168 cm LJFL for white marlin/spearfish.