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Bluefin Gets Unilateral Protection

EU - The European Commission has welcomed the unanimous agreement by the Council of Fisheries Ministers on a recovery plan for Bluefin tuna.

At a meeting in Brussels this week, they agreed to transpose into EU law, the recovery measures for Eastern Bluefin tuna as recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). These measures were agreed at ICCAT's annual meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia in November 2006.

The agreed EU Regulation will go further than the ICCAT plan as it will require Member States to submit annual fishing plans in advance of the fishing season.

This protocol will ensure that the allocated fishing effort is compatible with the quota limits and complements the decision by ICCAT earlier this month to oblige all contracting parties to submit fishing reports at the end of the season.

Both of these regulations are imperative if over-fishing is to be avoided.

European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg SAID the EU's adoption of the Bluefin recovery plan was timely and necessary. "Next year, 2008, will be a crucial year if we are to save the Bluefin tuna. Making the recovery plan work from the very first day of the 2008 fishing season is vital to prevent the collapse of the fishery and ensure the return to sustainable levels of the stock," he added.

Ellen Hardy

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