Mediterranean EU countries led by France have rejected cutting quotas for bluefin tuna next year, as proposed by the European Commissioner in charge of fisheries.
This throws into disarray the EU’s position at next month’s meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
Amid urgent calls by some for concerted bluefin recovery efforts, Brussels had proposed reducing the global catch to 6,000 tonnes, from this year’s more than 13,000 (with the EU allocated just over 7,000 tonnes).
Environmental groups say scientific assessments point to a dwindling of stocks to one third the level needed to regenerate.
Earlier this year, faced with resistance from world number one bluefin consumer Japan, the EU failed to push through the listing of the fish as an endangered species.