The Atlantic bluefin tuna is showing improvement, according to ICCAT scientists. (Photo: Magrama)
Spain calls for increased bluefin tuna TAC for EU fleet
Friday, October 24, 2014, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The Government of Spain supports an increase in total allowable catches (TACs) of bluefin tuna for the EU fleet of up to 23,500 tonnes in two years.
During the ending of the VII Scientific Meeting of Bluefin Tuna in the Mediterranean organized by Balfegó group in Tarragona, the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Isabel García Tejerina, argued that this increase would be "a positive signal" that Spanish fishermen deserve and "a fair reward" for their efforts. This is so because, according to objective scientific criteria, "the Bluefin Tuna Recovery Plan has been carried out successfully."
The minister stressed that Spain defended the increase in the Council of Fisheries Ministers of the European Union last week, and that this position is supported by all Member States of the Mediterranean side.
She also announced that this position is the one that Spain will take at the meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to be held in November in Genoa.
Garcia Tejerina recalled that a few years ago, scientific reports warned that bluefin tuna stock was not being exploited sustainably. And that "if this continued, its future would not be guaranteed."
For this reason, the ICCAT approved the Recoverty Plan for Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, which laid the foundation to turn the tide. "And the enormous work done since the beginning of this Legislature for its implementation in Spain is already bearing fruit," she stressed.
According to the minister, the Spanish fishermen, like those from other Member States, have been limited as to their bluefin tuna catches as a result of the implementation of the Recovery Plan. She said that "now that the situation has been reversed, the effort made must be rewarded."
ICCAT scientists have confirmed that bluefin tuna stock has reached biomass record levels and catches are at historically low levels. They also indicate that the exploitation pattern has varied considerably, since now a strong reduction in juvenile catches has been noted.
García Tejerina has expressed that according to objective scientific criteria, the Bluefin Tuna Recovery Plan has been carried out successfully and this has been possible through all stakeholders’ efforts: scientists, through their more accurate assessment methodologies; the Spanish Government, by implementing control systems of bluefin tuna fishery that have been helpful as examples "inside and outside the EU;" and the Spanish fishing sector.
Spain is the main country fishing for bluefin tuna, with almost 20 per cent of the total stock quota.
Spanish bluefin tuna exports in 2013 generated a total of EUR 37.7 million, of which almost 90 per cent were fresh products. And in the first half of this year, the export figure is EUR 32 million.
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