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Is France Fishing Sustainably?

11 November 2010

FRANCE - In a recent investigative report France were accused of covering up illegal bluefin tuna fishing activities. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries defended French fishermen saying that they are the most tested, most responsible and most repectable fishmen in the Mediterranean.

The Minister said that current bluefin tuna fishing quotas have been recommended by scientists in Recife, and will provide the maximum sustainable yield in 2022 with a probability of 60 per cent.

Asked whether he would support a proposal from the European Commissioner for Fisheries to reduce the global quota for bluefin tuna, Mr Le Maire defended the European quota of 13,500 tonnes, saying that it is based on scientific advice.

He acknowledged that up until 2007 the industry made mistakes, but insisted these had been corrected.

Questionning the Minister, one MP accused the him of failing to confirm that the bluefin tuna situation in France has improved since 2007. The MP suggested that the government now turns a blind eye to fishing practices.

Mr Le Maire said that whilst it is important to think of the fish - it is equally important to think of the fishermen, their jobs and their right to continue to fish in good conditions.

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