European bluefin tuna season over, 2017 quota could rise
The 2016 bluefin tuna fishing season in the Western and Central Mediterranean Sea and in the Adriatic Sea has run its course and without incident, authorities have reported.
Open for purse seiners from 26 May to 24 June, the majority of the European vessels had fished to quota by early June and were called back to port by their national authorities. Only in the Adriatic did fishing activities by Croatian small-scale vessels continue until the end date of the campaign.
Thanks to the implementation of an international recovery plan and the efforts made by fishermen, the EU’s quota was increased to 11,200 metric tons (MT) this year, and there are many that expect a further increase in the fishing limits for the 2017 season.
In a statement, the European Commission (EC) said it was pleased to report that the campaign ran smoothly and that inspections on European vessels did not reveal any systemic overfishing or illegal fishing.
The Commission also confirmed that the European purse seiner fleet was now using an electronic catch documentation system for bluefin tuna developed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) called the Bluefin Catch Document (eBCD). The same tool will be used for all caging operations in European farms and for all fishing gears as of 1 July, thus allowing for full catch traceability.
The EC’s control team together with a team from the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and in close co-operation with the competent national authorities are now monitoring that caging operations in Spain, Malta and Croatia perform according to ICCAT standards.