On Tuesday this week, the European Union fisheries ministers met in Luxembourg to discuss their position for the upcoming meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) – they rejected the EU Executive arm’s proposal to cut the Bluefin tuna quota for 2011.
The Mediterranean countries (including France, Spain, Greece and Portugal) are responsible this time around for shooting down the EU fisheries commissioner Damanaki’s proposal to reduce the global quota for bluefin tuna to around 6000 tonnes, or half the current quota. Nothing is certain yet, but it’s not looking good.
The EU made a commitment to restore stocks to Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2015 – which is why it has a clear obligation to support a reduction of the bluefin quota to an amount in line with scientific advice. We believe that there should be a complete closure of bluefin tuna purse seiner fishery. Unfortunately – once again, financial interest seems to have gotten in the way of commitments and the welfare of a species that is dangerously overfished.
We’ll be discussing ICCAT a bit more in the coming weeks, as it will be taking place starting November 17th, 2010. But based on the outcome of this meeting, we are deeply concerned about the fate of bluefin tuna and other similarly endangered species including swordfish, and certain threatened shark species.
Check our blog often for more updates!