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Tense talks over 2011 bluefin tuna quotas

Tense talks over 2011 bluefin tuna quotas
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Fishing quotas for Atlantic bluefin tuna are under the spotlight at a meeting in Paris.

Some 50 member countries of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas will attempt to thrash out a deal for next year.

Conservationists want greater restrictions, with stocks having dropped by more than 80 per cent since 1970.

Greenpeace activist Francois Chartier said: “Globally today there is still a problem of exceeding quotas and illegal fishing, of overcapacity, too many boats for not enough fish.

“There’s been an important reduction of quotas over the past few years but unfortunately it’s not enough. That’s why it’s so important to go further.”

The current limit for catches is 13,500 tonnes, down from just under 20,000 in 2009, and that could drop much further for some countries.

Mourad Kakoul from the Union of Mediterranean Tuna Fishermen said: “If they’re going to go for a 6,000 tonne quota per year, we should just call it a day, just stop fishing. We should just leave it to illegal fishermen.”

France, Italy and Spain catch most of the Atlantic bluefin tuna consumed on the world market, and Japan imports about 80 per cent of that.