An investigation into effective management structure for tuna resources in the West Indian Ocean
Tuna fisheries in the coastal states of the West Indian Ocean (WIO) have been at the centre of the social, economic and political development of the region. Their significance in creating employment, providing food, and generating revenue for the people in the region cannot be overemphasized. To be able to derive full benefits from the tuna resources in the WIO, the coastal states will have to devise an efficient management strategy, not individually, but collectively. Currently, there is no such management structure in the region to accomplish this goal. This study is, therefore, an attempt to find some solution to this important issue, and to propose a suitable management framework that would guarantee an efficient and profitable tuna resource management mechanism in the region. To tackle this task, data were collected through documentary statistical sources as well as by the use of questionnaires. Information was received from many fisheries organisations, as well as from other international fishing institutions. The results show that there is an urgent need for a regional organisation to manage tuna resources in the WIO, in order to avoid overfishing and stock depletion which will have adverse consequences on the economic and development prospects of both the coastal states and distant water fishing nations (DWFNs) operating in the region. This study recommended the establishment of a "Regional Organisation for the Management of Tuna in the West Indian Ocean" (ROMTWIO) using a contingency-political model in recognition of the need for a systems organisational structure that reflects the political elements in the region. The organisation should address the issues of joint co-operation in self-determination and self-management of tuna resources in the region within the remit of existing international laws, and in recognition of the significant role other international bodies can play in the realisation of the benefits of a common tuna resources for all.