ICCAT Atlantic – Atlantic Ocean Tropical Tuna Tagging Programme (AOTTP)

Evidence Based Approach for sustainable management of tuna resources in the Atlantic – Atlantic Ocean Tropical Tuna Tagging Programme (AOTTP)

AOTTP will tag at least 120,000 fish across the Atlantic during 5 years, using a range of conventional and electronic tags. Additionally the Programme will collect, collate and analyze tag-recapture data for the three most important tropical Atlantic tuna species (skipjack, big-eye, and yellowfin). All the data collected will be stored in databases maintained by the ICCAT Secretariat and used to improve the estimation of key parameters needed for input to stock assessments. Fisheries scientists from Atlantic coastal states will be trained in tagging, data collection and the use of tag-recapture data in stock-assessment models.

Activities of AOTTP will include the chartering of professional fishing vessels, liaison with recreational anglers, the deployment of tagging and tag-recovery teams, data collection, scientific interpretation, the development and execution of training courses and the instigation of awareness campaigns to promote tag-recovery.

Focal countries will be Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Republic of South Africa, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, EU-Spain (Canaries), EU-Portugal (Azores), Cape Verde and the USA.  Commercial bait-boats will be used for most of the tagging work since long-line and purse-seine gears are known to cause more stress to the fish and increase fish mortality rates. Since there are no baitboats working off the North American east coast, AOTTP will depend on cooperation with recreational game fishers, to tag fish in that area.

The AOTTP is funded by the European Union (DCI-FOOD/2015/361-161), ICCAT CPCs and Contributors. The project officially began in June 2015.

The project is being coordinated by Doug Beare (doug.beare@iccat.int) based at ICCAT HQ in Madrid.





The overall objective of the AOTTP Programme is to contribute to food security and economic growth of the Atlantic coastal states by ensuring sustainable management of tropical tuna resources in the Atlantic Ocean. Specifically it will provide evidence-based scientific advice to developing Atlantic coastal states, and other ICCAT Contracting Parties, for them to adopt appropriate Conservation and Management Measures within the Framework of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

These objectives will be realized by improving the estimation – derived from tag-recapture data - of key parameters for stock assessment (i.e. growth, natural mortality, migrations and stock-structure).


Data and Publication Policy

The publication of any form of results (e.g. data, scientific papers) during the ICCAT-AOTTP programme must follow mandatory rules included in the contract between ICCAT and its funders. The acceptance of any ICCAT-AOTTP contract will automatically imply acceptance of the “Publication Policy and Editorial rules” detailed below:

  1. Ownership of the results of the Programme (ICCAT-AOTTP), including industrial and intellectual property rights, and of the reports and other documents relating to it shall be vested in ICCAT.
  2. The results of all activities carried out within the programme (ICCAT-AOTTP) and all the scientific results obtained shall be presented to the ICCAT-SCRS at the first possible opportunity.
  3. The scientific results of activities carried out within the Programme (AOTTP) may be published, entirely or in part, in either any scientific journal or in the ICCAT Collective Volume of Scientific Papers, providing they have first been presented to the ICCAT/SCRS.
  4. Any researchers who wish to publish results in any media (websites, blogs, newspaper articles, scientific journals) shall require prior permission from ICCAT. ICCAT, however, will, actively encourage any prospective authors engaged in research activities within the ICCAT-AOTTP programme to disseminate their results; particularly in peer-reviewed international scientific journals.
  5. Any report or article describing results obtained by the ICCAT-AOTTP programme must include the following sentence:
    “This work was carried out under the provision of the ICCAT Atlantic Ocean Tropical Tuna Tagging Programme (AOTTP), funded by the European Union, ICCAT CPCs and Cooperators. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views of ICCAT nor of any of the other funders. This work does not in any way anticipate either ICCAT’s or The European Union’s future policy in this area.”
  6. All data collected during any ICCAT-AOTTP activities shall be used for scientific purposes only, according to the ICCAT policies. Any other use of these data should be specifically authorized by ICCAT.

© All AOTTP reports are the property of ICCAT.  No portion of text, figures, graphs or tables may be reproduced without prior authorization from ICCAT.


Steering Committee

A Steering Committee has been appointed to guide the implementation of the AOTTP programme. A representative from the European Union's Directorate General for Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid is invited to attend as an Observer. The Steering Committee meets regularly to discuss all aspects of the project, and currently comprises the following members:

Driss Meski (ICCAT Executive Secretary)
David Die (Chair of the Standing Committee Research and Statistics)
Shannon Cass-Calay (Tropical tuna Coordinator)
Shannon Cass-Calay (Yellowfin tuna Rapporteur)
Hilario Murua (Bigeye tuna Rapporteur)
Monin Justin Amande (Skipjack tuna East Rapporteur)
Paulo Travassos (Skipjack tuna West Rapporteur)

Isabelle Viallon (Directorate General for Development and Cooperation/EU - EuropeAid) - Observer



ICCAT SECRETARIAT - Corazón de María, 8. 28002 Madrid, SPAIN info@iccat.int Phone: 34 914 165 600 Fax: 34 914 152 612