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Tuesday, 01 December 2009

EC welcomes ICCAT’s action to save bluefin tuna and other marine species

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), which met near Recife, Brazil, adopted a number of new multi-annual management plans which align fishing opportunities with the latest scientific opinions. The European Commission is particularly satisfied with the consensus reached on the recovery plan aimed at Eastern bluefin tuna, whose total allowable catch for 2010 has been reduced to 13500 tonnes (as compared to 22000 tonnes in 2009). This will be accompanied by drastic cuts in fishing capacity. ICCAT also approved additional management measures for Mediterranean swordfish which will, on the one hand, reinforce the protection of juvenile fish through more stringent closure of fishing activities at the end of the year and, on the other, foresee the adoption of a long-term management plan at the 2010 ICCAT meeting on the basis of up-to-date scientific advice. Once again this year, bluefin tuna has been high on the agenda of the ICCAT meeting. ICCAT agreed on strict new conservation measures to help the recovery of the bluefin tuna stock. In addition to the quota reduction to 13500 tonnes for 2010, the fishing season for purse seiners will be reduced to only one month in the year (between 15 May and 15 June). This shorter season can no longer be extended in case of bad weather conditions. As an additional precautionary measure, it was that agreed that, if in the course of 2010 scientists were to detect a serious risk of stock collapse, the fishery for Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin might be suspended completely. Also in 2010, following a new and up-to-date scientific assessment, ICCAT will adopt catch levels offering a high probability of allowing the species to rebuild. All these measures stem from proposals tabled by the EU which received broad support and were adopted by consensus.

Source: European Commission