Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus. (Photo: Oceana/Keith Ellenbogen)
Satisfaction with recovery of bluefin tuna stock
Friday, October 12, 2012, 04:40 (GMT + 9)
The Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) welcomed the evident improvement of the bluefin tuna stock after having monitored this fishery for six years.
The good news was released by the Scientific Committee of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in the latest report published by this organization.
The paper estimates that the bluefin tuna spawning stock again approaches and even exceeds 300,000 tonnes that had been reached between the late '50s and early '70s, and that was reduced to about 150,000 tonnes in the first decade of XXI century.
Cepesca claimed the responsibility and the efforts of the Spanish tuna industry to achieve the improvement of this resource status should be acknowledged through compliance with the control measures of the ICCAT Bluefin Tuna Recovery Plan.
In addition, the entity requests the setting of fishing quotas under the same criteria as that in previous years in order to increase them while maintaining the objective of bluefin tuna recovery.
Once the goal is met, Cepesca emphasizes that "it is necessary to also protect the fishers whose lifestyles have been jeopardized, and in many cases they have lost their jobs."
Furthermore, the entity considers it appropriate to keep the current management measures and the fishery control:
- Fishing ban in the case of under 30 kilo specimens;
- Temporary fishing constraints;
- Obligation of having inspectors onboard each boat;
- Control of fishing effort and all the landings;
- Control of tuna trade in the markets;
- Persecution of illegal fishing for this species.
Cepesca Secretary General, Javier Garat, recalled that "since the ICCAT Recovery Plan was launched in 2007, the European seine, longline, rod, hand line and net trap fleets engaged in fishing for bluefin tuna have had their fishing period, capture capabilities and number of ships reduced, with considerable impact on unemployment."
Therefore, at the organization they believe that "it is time to start picking the fruits resulting from the great sacrifice made."
Furthermore, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) requested efforts should be kept to consolidate the bluefin tuna population recovery.
"We have developed campaigns to save the bluefin tuna for 12 years and it is great news to know this upward trend," said Raul Garcia, the head of Fisheries of WWF Spain.
"However, we need to ensure that this progress is maintained over time, so we can not lower our guard and we must increase efforts. This species management will not be successful overnight," he added.
But while emphasizing that these early positive signs "come from an improvement in the fishery management," he warned that "there remains still a major concern about illegal fishing due to the existing overcapacity and to the control weaknesses."
- Warnings about bluefin tuna illegal fishing in Spanish waters
By Analia Murias