Oceana demands immediate halt of bluefin tuna industrial fishing

After CITES’ failure in preserving bluefin tuna, industrial purse-seine fishing will resume its activities tomorrow in this endangered species’ main area of reproduction

Press Release Date: May 19, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Bluefin tuna is disappearing. However, tomorrow, bluefin tuna fishing with industrial seine will be reopened. This fishing season will be extended until June 15. The quota for the entire Mediterranean and East Atlantic has been reduced to 13,500 tons: too low to be profitable. Therefore, Italian vessels will not fish this year in exchange of a fair share of subsidies. This will not be the case of fleets such as the Turkish fleet which will continue fishing with reduced quotas and high levels of illegal fishing.


Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe, has declared: “The only alternative for bluefin tuna is to immediately shut down the fishery. However, some ships continue to be allowed to fish despite the fact that, if they truly obeyed the laws, they would earn more money staying in port. This situation will add one more year to illegal fishing continuance and will fulminate one year to achieve the protection one of the most emblematic species of our seas.”


The marine conservation organization Oceana is once again asking that fishing be immediately shut down and that reserves be declared in the major reproduction areas that this threatened species has in the Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Islands, the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Southern Malta and Eastern Mediterranean.


Bluefin tuna stocks have plummeted to levels below 15% of their original population due to overfishing and illegal fishing. Last March, the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was held in Doha (Qatar). During this meeting, the inclusion of the Atlantic bluefin tuna in Appendix I was proposed in order to ban international trade of this species. This proposal was rejected after dauntless efforts by countries like Japan to continue benefiting from the overexploitation of this species.


This species’ future is once again in the hands of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and in the next meeting that the contracting parties to this agreement will hold in Paris in November.