Bigeye tuna

With the fate of Atlantic bluefin tuna up in the air at the upcoming International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas meeting, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is urging decision-makers not to neglect the recovery of another Atlantic species.

According to ICCAT’s Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS), bigeye tuna is on its way to recovering from an overfished state, but an increase in catches from the current level could reverse the trend.

The current conservation recommendation has the total allowable catch for Atlantic bigeye at 85,000 metric tons. In 2009, the catch was slightly higher than that, and, with a recent increase in the number of vessels operating in the Atlantic, future catches could continue to exceed the scientific advice.

“Current conservation recommendations are helping this stock rebuild, but scientists are warning us that these tuna are still vulnerable to any increase in fishing pressure,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “Strengthening the measures that are already in place in order to ensure that future catches will not increase will provide a buffer against the stock returning to an overfished state.”

ICCAT’s annual meeting in Paris starts 17 November and runs through 27 November.

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