November 16, 2009

EU: Lower Fishing Quotas For Bluefin Tuna

The EU Commission has announced an agreement among 45 countries to lower the annual catch quota for threatened bluefin tuna in the Atlantic.

The deal was struck at a meeting of the International Commission For The Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which sets annual fishing limits in order to improve conservation of threatened species.

According to the agreement, countries including the US, EU and Japan would cut their bluefin tuna fishing quotas to 13,500 tons next year.

"It is a clear sign that the international community acknowledges the scale and magnitude of the problem and is ready and willing to work constructively with scientists, environmentalists and the industry to find the best possible compromise that will ensure the sustainable exploitation of this fragile stock and the viability of the industry concerned," the EU said in a statement.

In 2009, catch quotas for bluefin were cut from 28,500 tons to 22,000 tons.

Environmentalists still believe more has to be done in order to save the threatened bluefin tuna population.

"After meeting for 10 days, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) refused to end fishing for Atlantic bluefin tuna," the Pew Environment Group said in a statement.

"Since its inception, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas has been driven by short-term commercial fishing interests, not the conservation ethic implied by its name," said Sue Lieberman, director of the Pew Group.

"Only a zero catch limit could have maximized the chances that Atlantic bluefin tuna could recover to the point where the fishery could exist in the future."


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