EU regulators have banned trawling for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean in a bid to prevent the species dying out.
Prized by sushi lovers, the fish can fetch up to 65 thousand euros each, and numbers have fallen drastically after heavy overfishing.
As of June the 16th, boats from Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy and Malta will be banned from fishing the tuna. Spain is banned from June the 23rd.
Last year, their combined fleets led the EU to exceed its catch quota by 25 percent. Commission spokesperson Nathalie Charbonneau said there would be no financial compensation: “If they have exhausted their quotas then that is their problem. This is something decided at the member state level with regard to every fishing boat, so there will not be any compensation. We are acting in line with the quotas that have already been agreed.”
The ban will be welcome news for environmental campaigners who have long called on the EU to close the industry down and save the species from commercial extinction.
The ban applies to vessels that use a “purse seine”,
a floating net that is weighted under the water and gathers, as its name suggests, like a purse.
The system is a common method for catching fish like tuna that swim near the surface.