Oman reported an increase of 44.8 percent in fish landings, reaching 840,378 M/T in 2020. Artisanal fishing accounted for 793,419 M/T of which tuna catches amounted to 68,578 tons. At 8.6 percent, tuna is the second-most caught fish after sardines (54.2 percent). In 2018, the government invested in its fishing fleet to increase production to 1.3 million M/T by 2023 and boost the tuna catch. Last year's growth is on track to meet the target.
In 2020, the Sultanate exported 300,977 M/T of fish products of which 22.2 percent were shipped to neighboring Arabic nations. The US bought 10.2 percent of this volume, and 0.5 percent was delivered to the EU.
Pressure is growing for a special IOTC session to vote on a drifting FADs (dFADs) management proposal submitted by Kenya during the RFMO’s annual meeting in June. The document recommends a cut in the number of dFADs in the Indian Ocean, aiming to aid in the rebuilding of the yellowfin stock. Somalia is the latest country to ask for this meeting, saying in a letter to IOTC that it must happen in November 2021 and not in January 2022 as the Chairperson suggested. This is because it would “result in an unnecessary delay”.
The EU, Japan, and India have already objected to the Special Session on the dFAD Resolution. Some have argued that January is too early for members to decide as the FAD Working Group and Scientific Committee are meeting in October and December. However, Somalia highlighted that these gatherings are not relevant for the special session as the key point will be to vote on Kenya’s proposal. Kenya has also asked for the extraordinary meeting to take place in November.
Inspectors from the European Commission (EC) and Vietnam’s General Department of Fisheries will hold an online meeting on October 27 regarding the Asian country’s progress in mitigating IUU fishing. Vietnam was slapped with an EU yellow card in 2017 for insufficient efforts in combating this problem. The EU has been holding an ongoing review of Vietnam’s anti-IUU work and will determine if it will remove the yellow card, maintain this status, or in the worst-case scenario, issue a red card. The latter would mean that all tuna and seafood trading between the parties will stop. This would be a blow to Vietnam since it reached a trade agreement last year with the Europeans for exports up to 11,500 M/T of canned tuna duty-free based on the origin fish rule.
The EC delegation was supposed to conduct inspections but the visit was canceled because of the global pandemic. The EC had already made two previous visits to Vietnam and has praised the progress made by the nation. In September, the country’s Prime Minister ordered officials and fishery agencies to put an end to IUU fishing by the end of this year.