ICCAT decision boosts bluefin recovery


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
November 25, 2013

Environmental groups, including Oceana and Pew Charitable Trusts, are praising the adoption of a “status quo” quota for Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna for 2014.

At the 23rd annual meeting of the International Council for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna, member governments agreed to a quota of 13,400 metric tons (MT) for the coming year, “recognizing that early sings of stock recovery have yet to be confirmed by sound scientific assessments,” said Oceana.

However, the groups are condemning ICCAT’s decision to not adopt any of the proposed management measures for sharks.

“We welcome ICCAT’s decision on bluefin tuna, and the leadership demonstrated by the EU — the main quota holder — in following the precautionary approach,” Maria Jose Cornax, Oceana fisheries campaign manager in Europe. “Contradictorily, Atlantic fishing nations simply have applied the opposite standard for the rest of species and stocks. In particular, it is simply outrageous that for yet another year, ICCAT Contracting Parties have neglected their responsibility to also manage sharks.”

“ICCAT has taken the next step in supporting the recovery of severely depleted Atlantic bluefin tuna by maintaining catch limits, in line with scientific advice, for both the western and eastern bluefin populations at 1,750 metric tons and 13,400 MT, respectively. The future of one of the ocean’s most iconic and valuable fish—the Atlantic bluefin tuna—is brighter today. This decision will help the species stay on a path toward full recovery,” said Elizabeth Wilson, director of Pew Charitable Trusts’ international ocean policy unit.

“Unfortunately the governments that are members of ICCAT have failed to limit catches of porbeagle and shortfin mako sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, despite clear scientific advice that overfishing is depleting their populations. It is deeply disappointing that, even after years of debate, these species will not be properly managed even though they are inherently vulnerable.”

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