A total ban on the fishing of bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean has been imposed by the European Commission for the rest of this year. The move comes after figures from member states on current catches show that the 2007 quota of nearly 17,000 tonnes has already been exhausted.
The ban concerns Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain as the other two member states involved, Italy and France, closed their own fisheries in July and August. Demand for bluefin tuna is high because it is especially popular in sushi dishes. The stocks of this highly-prized fish are also dwindling as a result of its life cycle. Unlike most tuna, it grows slowly and matures late – making it vulnerable to intensive trawling.