The UK is a member of the International Convention on the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and is represented at meetings of ICCAT by Defra. In addition to deriving the benefit of having some ICCAT tuna quotas, overseas territories have an obligation to participate in data collection and other management issues. Each currently presents an annual report, though the UK, to ICCAT describing the activities of its fishing vessels taking tuna and billfish. Although catches are not high, the complexity of the fisheries of several OTs is considerable. For instance, in addition to a considerable number of domestic offshore and inshore fishing vessels which fish in the waters of Bermuda, BVI, St Helena and Turks and Caicos, recreational fishing is growing particularly in the Caribbean OTs.
A recent review highlighted the complexity of legal implementation of obligations under ICCAT, and a two day workshop was held in London to allow affected OTs to engage directly with the three organisations with the responsibility to assist them with realising the opportunities and obligations attendant on ICCAT membership: OTD, the FCO department with policy responsibility for OTs; MRAG with the contractual responsibility to provide OTD with fisheries management advice; and Defra, the UK lead representation to ICCAT. The workshop explored ways of enhancing assistance for OTs in realising their fisheries potential and obligations under ICCAT.