Bluefin tuna fishing. (Photo: faocopemed.org)
Spanish government to request higher bluefin tuna quota
Friday, October 19, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
Based on the latest assessment by the Scientific Committee of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) on the bluefin tuna status, the Spanish government intends to seek an increase in its fishing quota for this resource.
Spain will present this request in the Fisheries Council of the European Union (EU), which will be held on Monday and Tuesday next week in Luxembourg.
The central government aims to achieve an increase in fishing quota which ensures the recovery goals for the species.
The application shall be made by the Secretary General of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Carlos Domínguez.
During the meeting of EU Fisheries Ministers, the reports issued by ICCAT scientists will be discussed, among other topics.
Anyway, bluefin tuna catches will be decided in November 2012, during the ICCAT annual meeting in Agadir (Morocco), EFE agency reported.
According to Dominguez, this agency "must send a positive signal to the industry" to value the efforts made in the last six years.
At present, the European fleet has a bluefin tuna quota of 12,900 tonnes. Out of that total, 2,411 tonnes were for Spanish vessels.
At a recent scientific conference in Tarragona, Josú Santiago, president of the ICCAT Scientific Committee, said that the latest report by the agency "clearly highlights the importance of an improvement of the bluefin tuna stock and spawning biomass status relative to the 2010 latest assessment," ABC reported.
However, he stressed the need to be cautious with the data, as there are still doubts about the true extent of such recovery.
Santiago said that at the ICCAT plenary, the Scientific Committee will recommend bluefin tuna catch quotas should be maintained at the annual 12,900 tonnes set for 2010 or should be increased slightly to 13,500 tonnes.
Meanwhile, Pere Vicent Balfegó, Grupo Balfegó co-president, stated "tuna biomass has quadrupled compared to 2006 data."
"As scientists request caution and time to clarify uncertainties, it is time policy-makers were also prudent and addressed not only biological criteria, but also social and economic fields," stressed the entrepreneur.
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By Analia Murias