Stricter Rules to Save Bluefin Tuna, Approval of EU-Mozambique Deal25 May 2012
EU - New international measures to further reduce illegal catches of bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean agreed at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) will be incorporated into EU law after the approval of a report in the European Parliament. In a March 2011 ruling, the Court of the EU partially annulled the EU Regulation banning the fishing of bluefin tuna.
These new rules develop a new recovery plan for bluefin tuna will reinforce controls, including those related to transfers of tuna from nets to cages, reports Euro Alert.
Each caging operation will have to be video-recorded. If the number or weight of bluefin tuna is found by the regional observer to be more than 10 per cent greater than that declared by the farm operator responsible for fattening the fish, the excess fish will have to be released.
Under the new rules, Member States targeting bluefin tuna will have until the beginning of 2013 to bring their fishing fleets into line with the quota allocated to them. In 2010, Member States were obliged to eliminate only 25 per cent of the discrepancy between their fishing capacity and their allocated quotas. This plan also reduces the international total allowable catches (TACs) of bluefin tuna from 13,500 tonnes to 12,900 tonnes. Accordingly, the TACs allocated to the EU were reduced from 7,113.15 in 2010 to 5,756.41 tonnes. This restriction already entered into force in 2011.
In addition, MEPs also approved the EU-Mozambique fisheries deal. The deal, which has applied provisionally since 1 February 2012, will remain in force until 31 January 2015. Under the deal the EU will pay Mozambique €980,000 per year: €520,000 for access to its waters and €460,000 to develop its fisheries policy. Moreover, the deal reduces the reference tonnage from 10,000 to 8,000 tonnes per year, but allows the ceiling to be raised if necessary. Accordingly, the number of EU vessels allowed to fish in these waters will be reduced from 89 to 75: 43 tuna seiners and 32 surface long-liners.
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