International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas is responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas.  After a ratification process, the Convention entered formally into force in 1969.

About 30 species are of direct concern to ICCAT:  Atlantic bluefin, skipjack, yellowfin, albacore and bigeye tuna; swordfish, billfishes such as white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish and spearfish; mackerels such as spotted Spanish mackerel and king mackerel; and, small tunas like black skipjack, frigate tuna and Atlantic bonito.

Through the Convention, it is established that ICCAT is the only fisheries organization that can undertake the range of work required for the study and management of tunas and tuna-like fishes in the Atlantic.  Such studies include research on biometry, ecology, and oceanography, with a principal focus on the effects of fishing on stock abundance.  .

The Commission has 50 contracting parties and 3 Cooperating Non-Contracting Parties (Bolivia, Suriname and Guyana).

ICCAT’s website can be found here.

Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS)

The SCRS is essentially the “scientific arm” of ICCAT.  The SCRS, on which each member of the Commission may be represented, is responsible for developing and recommending to the Commission all policy and procedures for the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of fishery statistics.  A working group of scientists for each species meets regularly to review new scientific literature, compile data and conduct periodic stock assessments.  The list of international scientists who sit on these working groups represent some of the best minds in marine science in the species under study.  NOAA scientists and distinguished U.S. scientists from academia actively participate in these meetings.

It is the SCRS’ task to ensure that the Commission has available at all times the most complete and up-to-date statistics concerning fishing activities in the Convention area as well as current biological information on the stocks that are fished.  The SCRS also coordinates various national research activities, develops plans for special international cooperative research programs, carries out stock assessments, and advises the Commission on the need for specific conservation and management measures.

Further information on the SCRS can be found here.

ICCAT Advisory Committee (IAC)

The IAC is comprised of members of the U.S. domestic commercial and recreational fishing industries, environmental groups, academic scientists, representatives of the U.S. Department of State, NOAA's Office of International Affairs, NOAA's Sustainable Fisheries Division and NOAA’s Highly Migratory Species Management Division and act in an advisory capacity to the U.S. Delegation to ICCAT.  Committee members are appointed to a two-year term and serve on a voluntary basis.  The IAC meets twice yearly in Silver Spring MD and information relating to past meetings can be found here