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Weekly Overview: Recovery Plan Agreed for Mediterranean Swordfish

Lucy Towers
22 November 2016, at 12:00am

ANALYSIS - Following a week of negotiations between the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and 51 countries a recovery plan has finally been agreed for Mediterranean swordfish.

Environmental organisation Oceana welcomed the long-overdue measures to rebuild the depleted and overfished stock, but it believes the plan falls behind expectations.

The plan includes a modest reduction of catches and the adoption of a quota system to prevent illegal fishing and improve transparency in the swordfish fishery management and trade.

The plan includes a total allowable catch (TAC) of 10,500 tonnes for 2017 and then a 15 per cent reduction in catches between 2018-2022.

However, the level in catch reduction agreed is much lower than what scientists had advised and could still put this stock at risk, said Oceana.

Following the negotiations, EU Fisheries Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, said: "I am also very pleased that all Mediterranean countries have agreed to address the dire situation of Mediterranean swordfish by accepting to limit and reduce their catches gradually over five years in combination with a comprehensive package of other measures. Bringing back this emblematic species to sustainable levels will benefit many fishermen, including the small scale fleets."

In aquaculture news, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced four grants totalling $1.2 million to support the development of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture in the United States.

“In 2015, Americans spent $96 billion on seafood, but only a small portion of that was produced by US aquaculture,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy.

“To meet the growing demand for this healthy source of protein, NIFA investments are helping enhance US aquaculture production to promote both economic opportunities and a safe, reliable domestic seafood source.”