Higher quota bluefin season opens


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
May 26, 2015

The European Union bluefin tuna season opened today for the first time under the new, increased quota system.

The season runs from 26 May to 24 June for purse seine fishing vessels seeking bluefin in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic.

Last fall, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), allowed a 20 percent annual quota increase for the next three years. The increase was the first since drastic quota cuts in 2006 when the bluefin recovery plan began. This year, that translates into a limit of more than 9,000 metric tons.

Environmental groups panned the decision, saying the recovery program hadn’t been in place long enough to ensure recovery of the stocks, but the European Commission, in a statement, referred to the “progressive recovery” of the bluefin stock permitting the quota increase.

"Bluefin tuna, an emblematic stock nearing collapse, is back to life,” said Karmenu Vella, European commission for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries. “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."

The commission said in its statement that “a strict control and inspection program” will help prevent overfishing.

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