Quotas of bluefin tuna are to be cut by 40 percent next year but environment groups say it is still not enough to save the species.
The global tuna fishing body ICCAT had been urged to ban catching bluefin tuna altogether amid dwindling stocks although that was opposed by several European countries. In the end it decided to reduce 2010’s maximum bluefin haul from just under 20,000 tonnes to 13,500 tonnes. European Union representative Vincent Grimaud said the quota cut followed experts’ advice. He said from the ICCAT meeting in Brazil: “The position for ICCAT and in particular of the European community was to follow strictly scientific advice. And what scientific advice tells us about the level of total allowable catches is that it should be between 8,000 and 15,000 tonnes.” The decision not to ban bluefin catches was warmly welcomed at the ICCAT meeting by Japan, where the fish is a highly-prized delicacy. ICCAT claims the 40 percent quota cut, and a reduction of the bluefin fishing season to just one month, gives bluefin stocks a 60 percent chance of recovering within 15 years. Environment groups also warned that illegal fishing meant the real tonnage of bluefish tuna caught would far exceed the imposed quotas.