Europe’s tuna fishermen are having new restrictions imposed on their catches just as they put to sea for the 2009 season.
In order to protect stocks of bluefin tuna, the European Commission has shortened the season for EU boats by a fortnight – it will now end in mid-June. As they keep an eye on the fleet by satellite, officials are warning that it is the last chance to avoid, quite simply, the end of this type of fishing. Catch quotas have been cut by 27 per cent – or nearly 3,000 tonnes – and further reductions in capacity will come with the scrapping of 26 vessels from France, Italy and Malta. Skippers are expected to give a frosty response, as the measures will undoubtedly threaten a considerable drop in earnings.