Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have been given an arduous mandate under the legal framework of the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement. Member states with different interests and objectives are required to cooperate and collaborate on the conservation and management of tuna and tuna-like species, which includes the allocation of fishing opportunities. It is well understood that the main RFMO allocation disagreements are the inability to agree on a total allowable catch, the lack of willingness to accept new members, disagreement on who should bear the conservation burden, and non-compliance with national allocations owning to perceived inequities. Addressing these elements is crucial for any organization if it is to sustain its credibility stability and legitimacy. This paper identifies additional barriers facing an equitable allocation process at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). These challenges are multi-faceted and include institutional, political, and scientific barriers in the ongoing allocation negotiations, and further inhibit effective negotiation and resolution adoption as a whole. After almost 10 years of negotiations, the process has progressed little, and without agreement on these barriers it will be a challenge to adopt a stable systematic allocation process.
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