Panel Slams ICCAT for Mismanaging Bluefin Tuna Fishery

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 10, 2008

An independent panel commissioned by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to assess the organization's performance has deemed its management of the bluefin tuna fishery an "international disgrace."

In a review published earlier this week, the panel called for suspension of bluefin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean until participating countries fully comply with ICCAT regulations.

"Large catches of juveniles are believed to continue to occur in some areas. Catches of larger, more successful spawners have increased substantially. New purse seiners continue to be added to the fleets and fishing has expanded in areas that previously acted as refugia," the panel said. "Contracting parties of ICCAT have failed to abide by their legal obligations under international law, have failed to conserve bluefin tuna and have failed in the eyes of the international community."

Both the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace welcomed the panel's findings.

"Such staggering conclusions from independent experts only reinforce what WWF has been saying for years - this is a fishery grossly out of control, and if the fishery is not closed now pending a radical management overhaul, this majestic species may be confined to the history books," says Sergi Tudela, head of fisheries at WWF Mediterranean.

"This report signals that it is time for ICCAT members to take responsibility for the fishery that has brought tuna to near-collapse or be relieved of its management altogether," adds Sebastián Losada, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace Spain.

Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500