March 14, 2023

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas officially adopts an MSE for Atlantic bluefin tuna.

ICCAT Press Release: Closure of the 23rd Special Meeting of the Commission



After many years of work, at its annual meeting in November 2022, ICCAT approved a “Management Strategy Evaluation”(or MSE) for Atlantic bluefin tuna. Proponents of the MSE believe that it is a step forward for management. The goal of the MSE is to better address the many layers of uncertainty present in both the science and management of this species.


In theory, MSE is a way to deal with known or unknown uncertainties—but in no way does it remove those uncertainties. It is simply a system that tries to account for them ahead of time. At the end of the day, the data used to drive the MSE is the same data that has led to a lack of effective indices of abundance (both relative and absolute) and, more generally, assessment failures. In fact, because the MSE is essentially an ‘auto pilot’ for management—effectively removing the input of managers from year to year—it places more emphasis on the poor data than ever before.


The MSE has also implemented drastically different quotas on either side of the Atlantic: for 2023-2025, the eastern Atlantic/Mediterranean Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is 40,570 mt and the western Atlantic TAC is 2,726 metric tons.


The MSE is complicated and highly technical, and it is impossible to explain it in detail here. But if you would like to learn more, either contact us or look at one of the recent technical documents, seen here:

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