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Bluefin tuna fishery closing may be too little too late

FRANCE - The European Commission has announced the closure of the Bluefin tuna fisheries in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic, but MEP Marie Helene Aubert of France, a member of the Fisheries Committee, said its probably too late to do any good.

"The belated decision to close the Bluefin tuna fisheries in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic could be too little too late for the stock. Repeated imposition of excessive quotas for Bluefin, coupled with illegal and unregulated fishing (IUU), have led to the dire situation of the Eastern Bluefin stock. The EU must keep the ban agreed today in place indefinitely until independent scientific evidence demonstrates that sustainable fishing is possible.

Last year, the EU succeeded in negotiating a quota for 29,500 tonnes for these fisheries in the international body that regulates tuna fishing (ICCAT), almost double the quota recommended by ICCAT’s scientific experts as necessary to prevent the extinction of Bluefin tuna. Protecting Bluefin tuna is clearly in the interest of Europe’s fishermen, as well the biodiversity of its seas, and the EU must stop supporting the manmade extinction of this species. The Commission and the Member States need to introduce a programme to reduce the capacity of the fishing fleet," she said.

ICCAT, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, met in Dubrovnik in November 2006 and agreed to quotas that were set for Bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic/Mediterranean Sea for the next four years: 29,500 tonnes in 2007; 28,500 in 2008; 27,500 in 2009; 25,500 in 2010. However, the ICCAT scientific committee had recommended a limit of 15,000 as essential for preventing the extinction of the species.

Source: NewEurope