The IOTC was established in 1993 at the 105th Session of the Council of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under Article XIV of the FAO constitution. As such, the IOTC Members can make decisions concerning the management of tuna and tuna-like resources, and their associated environment, binding on all Members and Cooperating non-Contracting Parties. The Agreement was signed on November 25th 1993 and entered into force on the accession of the tenth IOTC Contracting Party, referred as Member, on March 27th 1996. The Financial Regulations of the IOTC were adopted at the organisation’s First Special Session, held in Rome on March 21-24, 1997 and the IOTC Rules of Procedure were adopted at the Second Special Session, held in Victoria, Seychelles, on 22-25 September, 1997 (and updated in June 2014). Following the decision of the Members at the First Session, the Secretariat was established in Victoria, Republic of Seychelles, and became operation in January 1998.
The Agreement for the Establishment of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission is the document which establishes the structure and functions of the Commission.
The Financial Regulations of IOTC, address matters related to the provision of funds, appropriations, structure of the budget, reporting and contingencies. Areas of financial regulation not directly addressed within the IOTC Financial Regulations are governed by the FAO’s Rules and Procedures. The Commission has a fully autonomous budget based on contributions of Contracting Parties, assessed according to a formula described in the Financial Regulations.
The IOTC Rules of Procedure (updated in 2014) include provisions addressing various operations of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies. Areas addressed by the Rules of Procedure include Sessions of the Commission, participation by observers, voting procedures, responsibilities of the Secretariat, the Scientific Committee and general operational provisions.