EU adopts stricter bluefin tuna rules
The European Parliament has adopted legislation aimed at protecting the bluefin tuna population in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
On Wednesday, MEPs voted to back measures pushed by Spanish Green MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda, whose report set the stage for the legislation.
The legislation includes reducing the total allowable catch from 13,500 metric tons annually to 12,900 metric tons; reducing the size of fishing fleet; extending the closed season for purse seines in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean; and tightening various controls, especially relating to the transfer of tuna from nets to cages. It also includes multiple provisions to increase inspection and observer capacities.
The new rules were agreed upon at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) annual meeting in late 2010. As a contracting party to ICCAT, the EU is obliged to integrate these rules into EU law.
Also on Wednesday, Rueda called for the establishment of sanctuaries in the Mediterranean, areas closed to bluefin fishing during spawning season to promote the stocks recovery.
“If the EU wants to get serious about saving bluefin, this means closing areas to fishing, particularly during the breeding season, as well as adopting more stringent measures to close some of the loopholes, which exacerbate the over-exploitation of the stock,” Rueda was quoted at saying by TheParliment.com.
“Tougher controls of the fleet and the related industry are also necessary to prevent illegal fishing and overfishing,” he said. “The EU will again have the opportunity to push for more stringent quotas and regulations, in line with the scientific recommendations, when ICCAT meets in November this year. If it is not too late already, there will not be many more chances to prevent the demise of bluefin.”