By SeafoodSource staff
Published on 04 October, 2012
Both the World Wildlife Fund and Pew Environment Group are speaking out on recommendations for management of Bluefin tuna from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
One month before the annual the annual ICCAT meeting, stock assessments suggest an increase in both the eastern and western Atlantic Bluefin populations, however the western increase is less pronounced. ICCAT scientists have also highlighted uncertainties that question the reported increases in both populations and recommend that ICCAT keep the current management rules — including the current total allowable catch (TAC) of 12,900 metric tons for the next years.
According to Pew, ICCAT’s past decisions have ignored scientific advice, particularly in the eastern Atlantic, where quotas were set higher than the scientific committee’s recommendations.
“If this slight increase is to lead to an actual recovery of the Atlantic bluefin population, it is critical that ICCAT continue to follow conservative scientific advice and not rush to increase the quota,” said Pew in a statement.
The WWF is also urging ICCAT to continue its current efforts.
“We need to see how the recovery trend progresses over time. In the meantime, we cannot lower our guard, management efforts need to be maintained and even strengthened. Bluefin fisheries management will not become a success overnight,” said Sergi Tudela, WWF Mediterranean’s head of fisheries program. “There is no doubt that the first positive signs of bluefin tuna stock increase derive from improved management of the fisheries. However, there is still concern about illegal fishing of Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean due to overcapacity and control loopholes. We have submitted cases to ICCAT again this year and several studies based on international trade also suggest actual catches more than doubling reported ones.”