Tuna and Sharks, a tale of two fishes
ICCAT, the Atlantic tuna commission, sets science-based bluefin tuna catch quotas in the Mediterranean - but fails to protect for vulnerable sharks, or clamp down on rule breakers.
The EU, represented in the meeting by European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, strongly backed respect for science.
After years of mismanagement, ICCAT followed for the first time last year the scientific recommendations and set an annual quota at 13,400 tonnes for bluefin tuna fisheries in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean.
In spite of the lack of a new assessment this year, there was strong pressure from several countries to increase the quota, disregarding scientific advice. The EU, represented in the meeting by European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, strongly backed respect for science. Proposals to increase the quotas were finally discarded.
Progress was also made on the traceability of farmed tuna. A WWF study, Bluefin tuna farming growth rates in the Mediterranean, highlighted the potential to hide unreported 'black' catches, and asked ICCAT member countries to come up with a technical solution. ICCAT has just adopted a common procedure based on stereoscopic images that promise to close this important loophole.
"WWF congratulates ICCAT member countries for sticking to science again this year regarding bluefin tuna quotas in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean, said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean.
Tuna photo via Shutterstock.
Read more at ENN Affiliate, The Ecologist.