EU - European fishermen have benefited from the recovery of bluefin tuna stocks, following extensive measures over several years to prevent the stock from collapse.
This year, for the first time since the establishment of the Bluefin tuna recovery plan in 2006, there is a marked increase in the quota that the European Union is allowed to fish (over 9,372 tonnes).
This is due to the progressive recovery of the stock, as demonstrated by scientific evidence, which led to an increase of 20 per cent of the overall quota for Bluefin tuna.
The main Bluefin Tuna fishing season runs from 26 May to 24 June, when large vessels are allowed to fish for Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic.
European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: "Bluefin tuna, an emblematic stock nearing collapse, is back to life.
"For the first time in almost a decade, our fishermen can benefit with an increased quota. Sustainability and good management pay off. We must continue on this route."
To sustain this recovery, the EU has reiterated its commitment to fully implement the international control measures for the Bluefin tuna fishery. Also, a strict control and inspection programme has been put in place to avoid overfishing, coordinated by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the Member States concerned.
These high control standards require that a significant number of inspectors, patrol vessels and aircrafts are deployed during the entire year.
Increased control activities take place during the purse seine fishing season and the caging period of the fish caught alive by purse seiners and traps. For the latter, strict procedures are followed to verify the quantities of fish put in cages for farming purposes.
The European Commission also monitors catches on a constant basis, including through a satellite-based control system called Vessel Monitoring System. This is to ensure that all rules, and particularly the individual vessels' quotas, are fully respected.
The Bluefin tuna fishery is regulated by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) where the EU and member states are members.
The close collaboration with EFCA, Member States and other ICCAT Contracting Parties, means that all necessary measures are being taken to support the stock's recovery plan and its long term sustainability.
The Member States actively involved in the Bluefin tuna fishery are Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Malta, and Cyprus. The 8 countries share the EU quota, with Spain and France having the largest shares.
TheFishSite News Desk