Cablegate: Colombia Wants to Join Iattc - but with Conditions

Published: Wed 1 Jun 2005 09:22 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: 2004 State 179987
1. Summary: The GOC has decided to ratify the Convention
on the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), and
will apply to join the Commission at the upcoming IATTC
meeting in June. Colombia will ask the IATTC to grant
certain conditions to "facilitate" Colombia's ratification
of the convention. End Summary.
2. On May 27, the GOC notified diplomats from IATTC member
states that Colombia has decided to ratify the IATTC
Convention, and will present its application to the
Commission during the upcoming IATTC meeting in June.
According to the GOC (and as transmitted in GOC diplomatic
note 29792 (faxed and pouched to WHA)), the GOC will ask the
IATTC to grant two conditions that will "facilitate" the GOC
accession to the Commission.
Condition 1: Size of Catch
3. In 2002, IATTC members agreed to grant fishing
permissions for the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) to vessels
listed on the IATTC's Regional Vessel Registry. Nine
Colombian vessels were registered at that time, resulting in
an authorized capacity of 7,130 cubic meters of tuna per
4. As a condition for IATTC ratification, Colombia requests
that the Commission increase its authorized capacity to
14,046 cubic meters. In addition, it requests that the
IATTC recognize the additional capacity gained by Colombia
when 5 Bolivian vessels were re-flagged to Colombian
nationality. Finally, Colombia wants assurances that the
IATTC will consider increases in future capacity allowances,
allow for growth in the industry.
Condition 2: Closure Periods
5. As a condition for its ratification of the IATTC
Convention, Colombia is requesting a closure period
transition until January, 2007. During the transition, the
GOC will require its fleet to stand down for 42 days, but
will allow operators the flexibility to decide which of the
two closure periods they will observe. According to the
GOC, the tuna fleet will use global positioning satellite
tracking systems to monitor compliance. The GOC states this
regime is required to protect the tuna processing industry
from a 42 period of inactivity.
6. During the transition, the GOC will lobby the IATTC to
change its closure period policy, hoping the Commission will
adopt the Colombian policy of staggered closure periods
elected by fleet operators. When asked about strategies to
prepare the tuna processing industry for compliance with the
current IATTC closure period policy, the GOC repeated its
plan to lobby the IATTC for change from the inside, backed
by studies of the impact its staggered closure system has
had on tuna populations in the EPO.
7. Comment: Colombia's new focus on the IATTC was brought
on by concerns over the GOC's non-compliance in 2004 with
the IATTC closure period and questions raised in 2003 over
the inclusion of a non-authorized vessel in Colombia's tuna
fleet. These issues became even more pressing in the
context of negotiations toward a free trade agreement (FTA)
between Colombia and the United States.
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