The Story Behind the G16 Group
Landings of Indian Ocean tuna and tuna-like species under the mandate of the IOTC reached record levels in 2006/2007. Reported landings for the three major tuna species – bigeye tuna, skipjack tuna and yellowfin tuna – were close to a million metric tons in 2006. However, in the years that followed landings declined rapidly. The IOTC responded by imposing, among other actions, closure of large ocean areas while also setting up a process for developing a quota allocation system. The Resolution 10/01 – For the Conservation and Management of Tropical Tuna Stocks in the IOTC Area of Competence – stipulated that a Technical Committee on Allocation Criteria (TCAC) be established to start discussion on developing a scheme for the allocation of quota.
The first meeting of the TCAC was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2011. It was at this meeting that countries began to realise what was at stake. In the ensuing debate on the aspirations of various countries, but generally among the costal state members, the need for collective lobbying was realised.
It was to a particular and pointed reaction of a distant water fishing nation on the “rights of the coastal states” that sowed the seed for the G16. This resulted in coastal states gathering in the margins and which sparked the collective “movement of like-minded coastal states”. The addendum to the TCAC01 report (IOTC-2011-SS4-R[E]) includes how the coastal states felt about the process of quota allocation at that time.
Where Does the 16 in the G16 Come From?
Initially referred to as the like-minded group of coastal states, later it was dubbed as the G16 Group of Like-Minded Coastal States. The number 16 refers to the number of the clause in the in IOTC Agreement which talks about the rights of the coastal states:
IOTC Agreement: Article XVI. COASTAL STATES’ RIGHTS
This Agreement shall not prejudice the exercise of sovereign rights of a coastal state in accordance with the international law of the sea for the purposes of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the living resources, including the highly migratory species, within a zone of up to 200 nautical miles under its jurisdiction.