The period 26 May to 24 June marks the season where large vessels, purse seiners, are allowed to fish for bluefin tuna. Together with fish traps the quotas for purse seiners account for 83 per cent of the overall 2013 EU quota.
Vessels from seven EU member states are active in the fishery (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus).
The bluefin tuna fishery is regulated by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) where the EU and member states are members. ICCAT adopted a reinforced multi-annual recovery plan for bluefin tuna at its last annual meeting in November 2012. The plan enhances the sustainable management of the stock and introduces a number of new control measures.
Based on the experiences of previous years and given the particularities of this year's campaign, a strict control and inspection programme has been put in place. It involves a significant deployment of inspectors, patrol vessels and aircrafts coordinated by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the Member States concerned.
The European Commission also monitors catches and analyses Vessel Monitoring System data (a satellite based control system) on a constant basis to ensure that all rules, and particularly the individual vessels' quotas, are fully respected.
In close collaboration with the EFCA, Member States and other ICCAT Contracting Parties, all necessary measures are being taken to ensure full compliance with the new provisions and ultimately the success of the recovery plan and long term sustainability of the stock.
EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki stated that: "I reassert our continuous commitment to full implementation of the recovery plan on Bluefin tuna and our engagement to implement new reinforced measures".