Regional cooperation: a case study of the Western Indian Ocean tuna fisheries
The Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is one of the largest fishing areas among those classified as such by The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The region has maintained a steady rate of increase in fish landings mainly as a result of increased harvests of tuna species by distant-water fishing states since the 1990s. The highly migratory nature of the tuna stocks calls for management cooperation among coastal states in the WIO, taking into account principles and provisions in recent international instruments. This chapter reviews the broad organizational framework in the WIO with regard to tuna fisheries management, and particularly, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). We examine the challenges faced by the IOTC in the management and conservation of tuna, and the measures being taken to implement international fishery instruments, with a view to enhancing the coordination and cooperation of WIO coastal states at a regional level.