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Proposal to prohibit the use of large scale driftnets in the area of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission
by FRANCE (Government)
Large-scale driftnets fishing nets began to be used in the late 1970s and 1980s. These large-scale driftnets resulted in significantly increased amount of incidental mortality of protected species including, in particular, cetaceans, sea turtles and sharks. This led to international concerns about the environment impacts of this fishing method.

The IOTC Scientific Committee has noted in the report of its 19th session of December 2016 that gillnets are regularly being used with lengths between 4 and 7km. These gillnets may drift sometimes into the high seas in contravention of Resolution 12/12 to prohibit the use of large-scale driftnets on the high seas in the IOTC area. The Scientific Committee reiterated its recommendation that the Commission should consider a ban on large-scale driftnets also in IOTC CPC Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and recalled the negative impacts of such large scale drifting gillnets in areas frequented by marine mammals and turtles.

In view of that recommendation of the IOTC Scientific Committee, this proposal intends to replace Resolution 12/12 by extending its scope beyond the high-seas, to IOTC CPC EEZs, according to the following calendar:

- communication by CPCs before 2017, December 31st, of their flagged vessel duly authorised to use large-scale driftnets in their EEZs;
- demand by any concerned CPC to the Scientific Committee to assess during its 2017 session the possibility to establish temporary exemptions to this prohibition attending the selectivity of certain fisheries carried out with large-scale driftnets;
- possible confirmation of the temporary exemptions on the IOTC session in 2018;
- implementation of the prohibition to use large scale driftnets in the IOTC area from 2019, January 1st.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
  • Legal/policy/institutional measures
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
January 2019
Recommendation to be adopted by the next meeting of the parties to the IOTC
Staff / Technical expertise
No financial support is included in this proposition Parties to the IOTC that need financial support to apply the prohibition of large scale drift nets should estimate the support needed and define the way to apply the prohibition with the fishermen conce
Basic information
Time-frame: January 2019 - January 2021
France, European Union. Other contracting parties to the IOTC are invited to support the commitment in order to have it adopted by the regular session of 22-26 May 2017 and implemented before 1st January 2019
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
DIEFENBACHER TRISTAN, head of unit , tristan.diefenbacher@developpement-durable.gouv.fr, 0033140818939
Paris La Defense
Other SDGs
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