November 19, 2014

Bluefin Tuna in Jeopardy after 20% Quota Increase

In 2013 the EU Common Fisheries Policy was reformed. One of its main goals was to heed scientific advice when setting quotas on fish limits such as the endangered bluefin tuna. A recent report published by ICCAT stated that bluefin tuna stocks were recovering thanks to efforts put in place by the Commission. The report repeatedly stressed that significant gaps in the data must be addressed before a truly clear picture of the situation can be taken especially with regards to the current levels of potentially devastating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The report concluded by advising that current quotas should either be maintained or increased gradually and well monitored in order to avoid another collapse.

Following this week’s ICCAT meeting in Genoa, fifty fishing nations have subsequently agreed to increase the quota for bluefin tuna by 20% every year over the next three years, from 13,500 tonnes in 2014 to 19,296 tonnes in 2016. According to the EU the increase is considered to be “moderate and gradual” thus following the scientific advice put forward by last month’s report.

“Unfortunately it seems like the progress that has been made regarding the recovery of bluefin tuna is in jeopardy thanks to the same body that has worked so hard to achieve everything it has done so far.” JD Farrugia, a member of fish4tomorrow’s core team, noted. “Rather than placing more emphasis on better data collection methods and finding effective ways of tackling illegal fishing, governments have agreed on increasing quotas by 20% annually over three years and are trying to pass it off as being moderate.” The fish4tomorrow campaign believes that the quota increase puts bluefin tuna in a risky position once more and hopes that fishing nations, fishers, and consumers alike will act responsibly to ensure that tuna stocks do not collapse once more.