Sri Lanka is hosting the 18th Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization in Colombo from 01st to 05th June 2014 at the Bandaranayake International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo.
The meeting, held in Sri Lanka for the second time, is on an initiative of Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. 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.
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.
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.
The objective of the Commission is to promote cooperation among its Members with a view to ensuring, through appropriate management, the conservation and optimum utilization of tuna stocks and encouraging sustainable development of fisheries based on them.
Membership of IOTC is open to Indian Ocean coastal countries and to countries or regional economic integration organizations which are members of the United Nations, or one of its specialized agencies and are fishing for tuna in the Indian Ocean.
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.
Sri Lanka further strengthened its involvement in tuna management and scientific data collection with the shifting of the Indo-Pacific Tuna Project (IPTP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from the Philippines to Colombo in 1982.