Draft terms of reference for a working group on ecosystem and bycatch (WGEB)
The current Working Group on Bycatch was established by the IATTC in June 1997 at its 58th meeting. Its role was further elaborated, two years later, through the adoption of Resolution C99-11 on bycatch, which was afterwards successively replaced by a series of resolutions on this topic, the latest being Resolution-C-04-05 (Rev.2) Consolidated resolution on bycatch. In April 2000, at the opening of the second meeting of the Working Group, the IATTC Director gave a verbal account of its terms of reference, as recorded in the report of the meeting, as follows: 1. To define the relationships between bycatch and target species; 2. To develop gear technologies for bycatch reduction; 3. To formulate and evaluate management schemes for reducing bycatch. Since then, the negotiations leading to the adoption of the Antigua Convention in 2003 and the entry into force of the convention in 2010 significantly expanded the mandate of the IATTC, through the incorporation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, in line with the principles and standards contained in the international instruments adopted at the global level, particularly within FAO. That evolution is still not reflected appropriately in the current terms of reference of the Working Group on Bycatch. There is in addition an increasing disparity between the original mandate of the Working Group, on the one hand, and, on the other, the Strategic Science Plan 2019-2023 and programme of work that were endorsed by the Commission1. Accordingly, the Co-Chairs of the Working Group, in coordination with the staff of the Commission, considered necessary to prepare a draft of terms of reference that would be more precise, comprehensive, and detailed, as well as reflecting appropriately the broadening of the mandate of the Commission under the Antigua Convention. It is also proposed to modify that its name be modified to “Working Group on Ecosystem and Bycatch”.