Fishing ban needed for Mediterranean bluefin tuna
Antalya, Turkey – Members of the international body responsible for the management of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea must agree to a moratorium on fishing for this imperilled species or risk the end of a valuable fishery.
WWF is calling on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) — meeting this week in Antalya, Turkey, from 9 to 18 November — to support a multi-annual closure of the fishery for at least 3 years to give stocks a chance of recovery.
“A healthy Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery for the future demands management measures based on scientific advice and strict enforcement ," says Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean.
"But if fishing levels continue at the present rate there will simply be no tuna left to catch.”
Mediterranean bluefin tuna — highly prized around the world, especially in Japan for sushi and sashimi — has been under increasing pressure from overfishing. Scientists have repeatedly raised concern that the stock is at risk of collapse, but ICCAT has repeatedly failed to act.
Another season of massive overfishing and illegal activity this year has highlighted major management problems facing Mediterranean bluefin tuna. Under-reported and laundered catch, illegal sale of quotas, lack of monitoring and control are all hampering any kind of sound management, and putting Mediterranean bluefin under threat of imminent collapse.
“This year ICCAT has a unique opportunity to give this majestic species a fighting chance of survival,” adds Dr Tudela.
“The choice is simple: moratorium today for a sustainable fishery tomorrow, or do nothing and fish this princely species to an untimely death.”