Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean is being driven to the brink of extinction, by unscrupulous fishing piracy and ineffective management, a new Greenpeace report reveals today. The report, "Where have all the tuna gone?" highlights the need for urgent measures to improve and enforce fisheries regulations and protect breeding grounds as part of a recovery plan, without which Mediterranean bluefin tuna could soon be a thing of the past (1).
Greenpeace report: "Where have all the tuna gone?"
"The commercial extinction of bluefin tuna from the
Mediterranean Seais just around the corner," said Sebastian Losada
of Greenpeace Spain."The stock is being plundered by fishing
pirates to satisfy thecommercial greed of the tuna ranching
industry (2) which itself isbeing hypocritically subsidised by both
the EU and the Mediterraneancountries themselves. It is grotesque
that the greatest culprits arethe fishing fleets from Mediterranean
countries such as France."
The report "Where have all the tuna gone?" demonstrates
- catches exceed by more than 12,000 tonnes (37%) the legal
- EU subsidies to the tuna ranching industry have been as high as
$34 million over the last decade;
- tuna ranch capacity in the Mediterranean is at least
51,012 tonnes, exceeding by almost 60% the Total Allowable Catches
adopted bythe International Commission for the Conservation of
Atlantic Tunas[ICCAT]: an indisputable incentive for illegal
catches in the region.
For five years the WWF has denounced the uncontrolled expansion
of tunaranching in the Mediterranean, which is exacerbating illegal
fishing ofbluefin tuna. WWF is about to release a technical study
containing thefirst accurate assessment of real catches of the
bluefin tuna stock,which is expected to confirm the illegal catch
figures reported byGreenpeace.
Both studies show clearly that pirate fishing for bluefin tuna
isrampant in the region, and those responsible for the plunder
areprominent members of ICCAT, the organisation supposedly managing
"The bluefin tuna is nearing commercial and ecological
extinction.ICCAT must immediately extend its one-month seasonal
fishing ban in theregion to at least three months starting from 1st
July, in orderto effectively reduce overfishing," said Sergi
Tudela, Head ofFisheries at the WWF Mediterranean Programme
The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is in Barcelona this week on
thebeginning of the fourth leg of its 14-month global
expedition"Defending Our Oceans", the most ambitious ship
expedition everundertaken by the organisation.(3) Greenpeace is
calling on thecountries of the Mediterranean to protect bluefin
tuna with marinereserves in their breeding and feeding areas.
"A small number of tuna ranching companies and investors are
stealingwhat was once a shared resource from hundreds of fisherman
trying tomake a legitimate living from the bluefin tuna of the
Mediterranean,"said Karli Thomas of Greenpeace International.
"Greenpeace willwork on the high seas in the coming months to
expose the tuna pirates.The Mediterranean public has a right to
know -where have all the tunagone?" concluded Thomas.
Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that
usesnon-violent creative confrontation to expose global
environmentalproblems to drive solutions that are essential to a
green and peacefulfuture.
Notes: (1) "Where have all the tuna gone?", Greenpeace, 2006. Full report...http://oceans.greenpeace.org/en/documents-reports/tuna-goneand Executive Summary...http://oceans.greenpeace.org/en/documents-reports/tuna-gone-exec-summary(2) Tuna ranching, a relatively new industry in the region, is the main driving force behind the current levels of overexploitation. Tuna are caught in the wild and transferred to cages, before being towed to the coast where they are kept in ranches and fed for months, then killed for export.(3) The expedition has so far exposed the threats to the oceans such as whaling in the Southern Ocean and pirate fishing in West Africa, and documented the beauty of deep sea habitats around the Azores. In the Mediterranean, Greenpeace will set out to document the region's beauty, highlight the devastating impacts of overfishing on the survival of species like the bluefin tuna and propose a global network of properly enforced marine reserves covering 40% of the world's oceans.