ShapeShapeauthorShapecrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Bluefin Quota Dropped By Only 600 Tonnes

by the Fish Site Editor
29 November 2010, at 12:00am

EU - Short-term interests have taken priority over sustainability and common sense at the recent meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in Paris, which once again failed to establish measures sufficiently stringent to allow the severely overfished Mediterranean bluefin tuna to recover, says WWF.

Short-term interests have taken priority over sustainability and common sense at the recent meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in Paris, which once again failed to establish measures sufficiently stringent to allow the severely overfished Mediterranean bluefin tuna to recover, says WWF.

Under pressure from the Mediterranean fishing industry and countries benefiting from the highly profitable trade of the sushi favourite red-fleshed bluefin tuna, ICCAT endorsed an annual catch still far too high to enable the species recovery and held back efforts to regulate the fishery in the Mediterranean, where the eastern Atlantic population of bluefin tuna migrates to spawn.

Commission members decided to drop the 2011 eastern bluefin fishing quota by only 600 tonnes, from 13,500 tonnes to 12,900 while WWF was urging a catch of less than 6,000 tonnes in line with more precautionary recommendations to enable recovery of the overexploited fish stocks. What has been decided does almost nothing to help the troubled species recover.

"Greed and mismanagement have taken priority over sustainability and common sense at this ICCAT meeting when it comes to Atlantic bluefin. This measly quota reduction is insufficient to ensure the recovery of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea, said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of WWF Mediterreans Fisheries Programme.

After years of observing ICCAT and countless opportunities to do the right thing, it is clear to us that the commissions interests lie not in the sustainable harvesting of bluefin tuna but in pandering to short-term business interests. There have been no effective measures implemented here to deal with widespread illegal and unreported fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, said Dr Tudela.

A proposal to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna through a listing on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was defeated in Doha, Qatar last March. But the main harvesting and consuming countries of eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna, the EU and Japan as well as Norway, Canada and the US promised to lead in getting sustainable and science-based fisheries management measures adopted at this years ICCAT meeting.

Japan in particular opposed the CITES listing and stressed that ICCAT was the place to sustainably manage Atlantic bluefin tuna and that countries would show the world ICCAT is capable of ensuring the recovery of the species.

Oceana, a large international ocean conservation organisation, called the ICCAT meeting a massive failure for bluefin tuna".

While ICCAT reduced the allowed catch for eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna to 12,900 tonnes, this four per cent reduction is almost laughable, says Oceana. Furthermore, ICCAT failed completely to take action to establish spawning ground sanctuaries, a basic and much-needed management measure.

Oceana supports a closure of the bluefin tuna fishery until a system is in place that follows scientific advice on catch levels, ensures stock recovery, stops illegal fishing, and protects bluefin tuna spawning areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean Sea.

the Fish Site Editor