Tighter traceability for bluefin tuna adopted


Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
April 8, 2010

 The European Parliament's Fisheries Committee this week voted to back a measure requiring a paper trail for bluefin tuna throughout the supply chain to ensure "complete and reliable" traceability.

Drafted by Spanish MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda, the resolution was adopted with 19 votes in favor and one abstention.
The resolution comes less than a month after Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) delegates quashed a proposed Appendix I listing for Atlantic bluefin tuna, which would have suspended international trade of the species to protect it from overfishing. There were 68 votes against, 20 in favor and 30 abstentions.

Prior to last month's CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar, the European Parliament's Environment Committee voted overwhelmingly to adopt the Appendix 1 listing. And at the CITES meeting, the European Commission, whose 27 member states vote as one, also supported the designation.
Wednesday's Fisheries Committee vote transposes rules adopted by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), of which Europe is a member, into EU rules.

"The aim is to thwart overfishing and allow better control of stocks," said the European Parliament in a statement, adding that the rules ensure better traceability in line with ICCAT's latest rules.

Under the measure, all bluefin tuna must be accompanied by a documentation indicating catch data (name of the vessel or trap, flag state, volume of the catch and where and how the fish was caught).

The paper trail must also include shipment information (vessel names, port, product details); farm information (name, date of caging, estimated amounts); harvest information (date, number of fish, tag numbers); and trade information (product description, point and destination of export, shipper's details).

According to the European Parliament, the measure includes a ban on transshipping to prevent mislabeling of the origin of the fish.

The bluefin tuna quota for European fishermen was slashed from 22,000 metric tons in 2009 to 13,500 metric tons this year.

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