23rd Regular Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) (Cape Town, South Africa, 18-25 November 2013)

The 23rd Regular Meeting of ICCAT which was hosted by the Government of South Africa and attended by the Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to 43 Contracting Parties and four Cooperating non-Contracting Parties, Entities or Fishing Entities, also attracted two non-Contracting Parties, ten intergovernmental organizations and twenty non-governmental organizations, totalling well over 500 delegates in all.

While bluefin tuna has captured most of the attention in the agenda, the Commission continues its work on other agendas in high priorities including shark management and compliance performance.

A CITES Secretariat staff made a statement on behalf of the Secretary-General of CITES in which the brief background and progress on the implementation of the CITES shark listings have been addressed. Additionally, further collaboration between CITES authorities and fishery agencies at national and regional level was emphasized, and the launch of CITES Sharks and Rays Web section was also announced.

CITES Secretariat will continue to pursue a dedicated discussion on how ICCAT and CITES could collaborate on issues and species of common interest, including sharks species, in the future meetings. We would be prepared to work together with ICCAT Secretariat and its Parties in this regard, and within the overall context of our joint Guidelines on cooperation which came into effect in July 2012.