COLTO was founded in 2003 by legal industry members to eliminate IUU fishing for toothfish, and improve sustainability of toothfish stocks. At that time, estimates of IUU catches had been double the legal catches of toothfish – mainly being illegally taken from within national waters (Exclusive Economic Zones – EEZs). Through the combined efforts of CCAMLR, Flag States, Port States, conservation NGOs and industry, those levels of IUU fishing inside national EEZs have been virtually zero since 2005.
Toothfish fisheries today provide a powerful example of how well effective collaboration and co-operation can work between legal industry, conservation groups, national governments, and an international conservation commission, CCAMLR. This unique co-operation resulted in better fisheries resources management; sustainable catch levels set and adhered to for toothfish and bycatch species; virtual elimination of IUU fishing for toothfish; and significant benefits to ecologically related species, like seabirds.
Colto Science-Indstry Workshop, Norway 2015. Photo: Olav Steimler.