Bluefin season starting in EU, with high standards
As the bluefin tuna season gets under way next week in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic, the European Commission is reminding the industry of its efforts to control the fishery and protect the stocks.
The season is short — from 26 May to 24 June — part of a long-term plan to help the stocks recover and prevent overfishing.
"The EU has been working relentlessly to protect Bluefin tuna: we have reduced our fishing fleet, we have tightened controls and we have played a consistently active role within the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) which is responsible for managing this fishery,” said Maria Damanaki (pictured), European commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries. “That helped to bring the Eastern Atlantic Bluefin tuna stock back from the brink of extinction. I am confident that we are on the right path."
This year, the number of purse seine vessels fishing for the tuna will go up, as will the E.U. quota, by 5 percent to 7.939 metric tons, in part because Croatia will be a full part of the E.U. fleet for the first time. Croatia will share the overall bluefin tuna quota with Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus, with Spain and France taking the largest part.
In 2006, ICCAT adopted a 15-year recovery plan for Bluefin tuna in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean which has been regularly modified based on stock assessment, control experiences and new technologies.