Atlantic bluefin tuna quota to rise slightly

Nov 19, 2012 by Celine Serrat
A chef displays a block of fat meat tuna from a 269kg bluefin tuna at Sushi-Zanmai restaurant near Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. Annual catches of Atlantic bluefin tuna will rise slightly from next year, green groups said Monday at a meeting of countries that hunt the much-prized but threatened species.

Annual catches of Atlantic bluefin tuna will rise slightly from next year, green groups said Monday at a meeting of countries that hunt the much-prized but threatened species.

In 2013 and 2014, catches will rise to 13,500 tonnes annually for fish taken in the and east Atlantic compared with 12,900 tonnes at present, WWF said.

The new quotas were set by the 48-member International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) at the end of a week-long meeting in Morocco's port of Agadir.

The new catch limits were set in a context of conflicting news about a listed by as endangered.

In 2006, ICCAT agreed to a 32,000-tonne annual catch limit but two years later set progressively tougher maxima as evidence mounted of a threat to stocks.

Last month, ICCAT scientists said they had found the first evidence of a bluefin revival, a finding that spurred hopes in some countries of an easing on catch constraints.

The current annual is 12,900 tonnes for the Mediterranean and east Atlantic and 1,750 tonnes for the west Atlantic—the goal being to encourage a complete by the end of this decade.

The catch total for the west Atlantic has been maintained for a period of one year, sources in Agadir said.

"It is encouraging that ICCAT listened to the recommendations of its own scientists and agreed to keep catch limits for bluefin tuna within their advice," said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew .

Scientists had recommended keeping the quota between 12,900 and 13,500 tonnes.

"This decision will give this depleted species a fighting chance to continue on the path to recovery after decades of overfishing and ," said Lieberman.

"Although we are disappointed that the quota has only been set for one year in the western Atlantic and two years in the eastern Atlantic, we are hopeful that governments will expand their efforts to stop the illegal fishing and fraud in parts of this fishery."

The is on the endangered list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Five of the world's eight tuna species are classified by the IUCN as threatened or near-threatened, a situation driven mainly by demand for sushi in Japan.

ICCAT is tasked with the conservation of 30 fish species in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Its members include Britain, Canada, China, Russia, the United States, several Mediterranean countries, the European Union and Japan, which single-handedly consumes over 75 percent of all the bluefin tuna caught, according to the WWF.

The Atlantic bluefin can live to 40 years and grow to more than four metres (13 feet) long.

The fish spawn just once a year and do not reach reproductive maturity until they are eight to 12 years old, making them more vulnerable to than smaller species which spawn more frequently.

Stocks are estimated to have halved over four decades in some areas, with catches in the 1990s exceeding 60,000 tonnes per year.

In a separate decision, ICCAT agreed to launch a process for recrafting its mandate to boost protection for sharks, Pew said.

If successful, ICCAT's new convention will explicitly include sharks, which at present are considered "bycatch", or an accidental catch which does not require detailed oversight.

"This action sets the stage for improved international shark fishing in the Atlantic, which is causing serious depletion of many shark species," said Lieberman.

Explore further: Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bluefin tuna quotas up for renewal

Nov 12, 2012

Fishing nations meet in Morocco this week to thrash out tuna quotas as experts urge maintaining bluefin catch limits amid promising signs of the decimated species making a comeback.

Overfishing on the menu of Istanbul conference

Nov 11, 2011

Hundreds of representatives of countries involved in bluefin tuna fishing, international organisations and NGOs met here Friday on how to improve catch controls and protect endangered species.

Far more bluefin sold than reported caught: report

Oct 18, 2011

More than twice as many tonnes of Atlantic bluefin tuna were sold last year compared with official catch records for this threatened species, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Conservation body agrees to protect silky sharks

Nov 19, 2011

(AP) -- Delegates at an international conservation meeting agreed Saturday on a measure mandating that silky sharks accidentally caught in fishing gear be released back into the sea alive, marine advocacy ...

Progress made on protecting sharks, groups say

Nov 28, 2010

(AP) -- An international conservation conference in Paris made progress Saturday on protecting sharks but didn't do anything to save the Atlantic bluefin tuna, which has been severely overfished to feed the ...

Recommended for you

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

Sep 19, 2014

Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air—and the soybeans—were still?

Asian stars enlisted to fight African rhino poaching

Sep 19, 2014

Increasingly desperate South African conversationists are turning to a multi-national team of "rhino ambassadors" to try to end the scourge of poaching—and Vietnamese pop diva Hong Nhung has been recruited ...

Tropical fish a threat to Mediterranean Sea ecosystems

Sep 18, 2014

The tropical rabbitfish which have devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea pose a major threat to the entire Mediterranean basin if their distribution continues to expand as the climate ...

User comments : 0