June 01, Colombo: The 18th Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization commenced today at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo with the participation of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa as the Chief Guest.
This is the second time Sri Lanka is hosting the event. Sri Lanka also hosted the 15th session of the IOTC in March 2011.
Sri Lanka which is holding the Vice President ship of the Tuna Advisory committee is an inaugural member of the commission. Because of the progress achieved by the Sri Lankan Fisheries, Industry, Sri Lanka has been selected as the venue for holding the International session.
The conference which will be held from 01st -5th June will address current Conservation and Management Measures, reforms of the IOTC and proposals to revise the IOTC Rules of Procedure.
Prior to today's opening of the five-day conference, a consultative workshop on the evaluation of management procedures was held at the BMICH in Colombo on Saturday.
The workshop was aimed at enlightening the cooperating non-contracting parties (CPCs) which are still unfamiliar with IOTC harvest control rules and the management objectives for the fisheries.
Over 250 delegates and Observers from over 40 countries in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond are expected to attend the conference. Representatives from major Distant Water Fishing Nations such as EU, Japan, Korea, France, Taiwan, and China will also attend the meeting.
IOTC is an intergovernmental organization established in 1993 under Article 14 of the FAO constitution. It is mandated to manage tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean and protect the Tuna Fish resources.
Sri Lanka has been actively involved in the tuna resource management activities for over half a century, from the time of the establishment of the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission (IOFC) for the Management of Indian Ocean Tuna in 1968.
Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Deputy Minister of Fisheries Sarath Kumara Gunarathna, Minister of State for Fisheries and Agriculture of the Maldives Ms. ZahaWaheed, Chairperson of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) Mr. Daroomalingum Mauree of Maurice, Executive Secretary of IOTC Mr. Rondolph Payet, diplomats, representatives of member countries also participated at this occasion.