WWF: Maintaining bluefin quotas ‘crucial’
At the opening of the 23rd annual International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meeting, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) called on delegates to ensure maximum efforts are made to support the conservation of bluefin tuna and sharks.
The organization said great progress was made last year on the East Atlantic and Mediterranean Bluefin tuna stock when decision makers agreed for the first time on an annual quota based on science.
Current scientific advice is based on the same assessment carried out in 2012, as no new stock assessment was carried out this year. ICCAT scientific committee (SCRS) advises in against any substantial change in the current quota for 2013. SCRS said that maintaining the catches at the levels agreed last year — 13,400 metric tons — will likely allow the stock to fully recover by 2022.
“Any irresponsible increase this year in bluefin tuna quotas for the East Atlantic and the Mediterranean by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) could jeopardize the timely recovery of the species. WWF calls on ICCAT not to increase the tuna quota until it is based on the results of a new scientific assessment — no increase in quotas can be done against science,” said Dr. Sergi Tudela, head of the WWF Mediterranean Fisheries Program.
In addition, after talks and ever mounting pressure from global citizens against the practice of shark finning, a proposal for a ban will be discussed this year in ICCAT, sponsored by major fishing nations. WWF strongly calls on ICCAT parties to support it, after momentum was reached this year with the prohibition of this practice by EU.