ICCAT - International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas



Direção-Geral de Recursos Naturais, Segurança e Serviços Marítimos (DGRM)
Avenida Brasília
1449-030 Lisboa Portugal
Phone: +351 213 035 700
Fax: +351 213 035 702

ICCAT Secretariat
Corazón de María, 8. 28002 Madrid, SPAIN
Phone: +34 914 165 600
Fax No.: +34 914 152 612
Email: info@iccat.int
Website: http://www.iccat.int

Image (Areas and subareas)



It is responsible for the management and conservation of tuna in the regulatory area (outside the EEZ). It decides, on an annual basis, on the conservation and management measures and on TACs and quotas, by species, to be adopted on the Convention area.

Currently, ICCAT has 52 two Contracting Parties and is based on the following structure:

  • The Standing Committee on Administration and Finance, shall advise the Commission on budgetary matters, meetings, publications and other issues requested by the Commission
  • The Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS), advises the Commission on policies and procedures that may be necessary for the collection, analysis and dissemination of fisheries statistics and provide the Commission with up-to-date data on fishing activities in the area of Convention
  • The Subcommittees, are responsible for the assessment of species, groups of species or geographical area within their competence, as well as for the collection of scientific data and other important information.

Based on the SCRS investigation, the Panels may propose recommendations to the Commission for joint action by the Contracting Parties:

  • Panel 1: Tropical tunas (yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack)
  • Panel 2: Northern tunas (Albacore and Bluefin tunas)
  • Panel 3: Southern ttunas (Albacore and Southern Bluefin tuna)
  • Panel 4: Other species (swordfish, marlins, sailfish, and small tunas).

The Committee of Compliance for the Conservation and Management Measures: is responsible for the analysis of all aspects of the application of conservation and management measures of ICCAT, in the regulatory area, in particular, its compliance by the Contracting Parties.

The Secretariat: ICCAT headquarters are located in Madrid, Spain.

In addition to the structure below, there are also a number of working groups, which are tailored to the specific needs of ICCAT, such as the following:

  • Convention Amendments WG
  • Integrated Monitoring Measures WG
  • Stock Assessment WG, etc.

Eligibility conditions

  • To have a valid fishing license in accordance with Article 6 of the Control Regulation (Regulation 1224/2009)
  • Implementation of the relevant IMO vessel identification system, if required under Union law
  • The fishing vessel is not on a list of IUU vessels adopted by an RFMO and / or the Union under the IUU Regulation
  • The flag Member State has fishing opportunities under the fisheries agreement in question
  • To have a vessel monitoring system (VMS) installed and operational
  • To have an electronic recording and reporting system installed and operational
  • To be on the list of authorized ICCAT vessels
  • To have valid certificates of navigation and compliance.


  • Bluefin tuna
  • Southern bluefin tuna
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • Albacore tuna
  • Bigeye tuna
  • Blackfin tuna
  • Little tunny
  • Skipjack tuna
  • Skipjack tuna
  • Frigate tuna
  • Bullet tuna
  • Plain bonito
  • Wahoo
  • West African Spanish mackerel
  • West African Spanish mackerel
  • Atlantic sailfish
  • Black Marlin
  • Blue marlin
  • Atlantic white Marlin
  • Swordfish
  • Longbill spearfish

Species with special catch, registration and control regimes:

Bluefin tuna: There are no Portuguese vessels licensed for active Atlantic bluefin tuna fishing, which is only allowed on a by-catch basis and up to 5% of the total catch on board. By-catch of this species is always deducted from the Portuguese annual quota and requires specific documentation (e-BCD), validated pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 2016/1627 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 establishing a multi-annual recovery plan for Bluefin tuna in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean, repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 302/2009.


Vessels engaged in surface longliners fishing activities south of the 20º South should use lines to chase away seabirds (tori lines) in order to limit and, if possible, eliminate accidental by-catches of seabirds.

Prohibited species

Sharks: In the regulatory area of ICCAT:

  • It is prohibited to keep on board, transship or land any part of carcass or whole carcass of Bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus) in any fishery
  • It is prohibited to engage in direct fishing for species of Bigeye thresher of the family Alopias
  • It is prohibited to keep on board, to transship or to land any part of carcass or whole carcass of smooth hammerhead sharks of the family of Sphyrnidae (with the exception of Sphyrna tiburo) in association with a fishery carried out in the ICCAT Convention area
  • It is prohibited to keep on board, transship or land any part of carcass or whole carcass of oceanic white tip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) caught in any fishery
  • Finally, it is forbidden to keep on board silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) caught in any kind of fishery.

Fishing Gears

  • Surface Longliners
  • Pole-and-line.


Authorized vessels - The list of ships authorized to operate in the ICCAT regulatory area can be found here.



Requests for the chartering of a national vessel must be submitted to the DGRM, accompanied by the necessary documentation, in particular the draft charter agreement between the Parties, drawn up in Portuguese or accompanied by its official translation, as well as the license issued by the Chartering Party. The submission shall be examined in the light of the applicable legislation, in particular:

  • Article 9 of Decree-Law 278/87 of 7 July, in the wording given by Decree-Law 383/98, of 27 November, and of article 72 of Regulatory Decree No. 43/87 of 17 July, as amended by Regulatory Decree No. 7/2000 of 30 May;
  • The provisions contained in Chapter V of Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December on the sustainable management of the external fishing fleets, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1006 / 2008 of the Council.
ICCAT - Bluefin Tuna - 2020 Fishing Plan
With the adoption of a management plan for bluefin tuna to replace the recovery plan, Recommendation 18-02 has been replaced by ICCAT Recommendation 19-04 which, voluntarily the EU Member States, as well as all contracting parties of the ICCAT implemented it from 1 January 2020, and the fishing plans were prepared in accordance with the rules established there.
The Fishing Plan of Portugal for the year 2020, presents some changes, in terms of by-catches, resulting from the application of Rec. 19-04, namely:
  •  Greater flexibility, introduced by the new management plan, so the Portuguese Administration decided to increase the level of by-catches from 5% to 7%
  • The calculation of by-catches will be made only by weight, not on the number of tuna or related species managed by ICCAT
  • There will be a derogation for artisanal and small-scale vessels in the Autonomous Regions, Azores and Madeira, whereby, regardless of the total weight of the catches kept on board, a specimen of BFT can be landed for each fishing trip.
For 2020, the Portuguese quota for bluefin tuna is 574.31 tonnes. This small quota does not allow authorized fishing for the entire national fleet.


Order No. 6794/2019, of 30 July, from the Office of the Secretary of State for Fisheries, which prohibits by-catch, onboard maintenance, transport, transhipment and landing of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) at vessels registered or landing in mainland ports.

Order No. 6570/2019, of July 22, of the Office of the Secretary of State for Fisheries, which establishes the supplementary measures for the management of the bluefin tuna quota attributed to Portugal.

Conservation and management measures in force at ICCAT.