European Union (EU) Member States have this year fished over
20,000 tonnes of bluefin tuna - 20 per cent above their legal
quota. The unsustainable level of the tuna catch has brought the
stock to the verge of collapse. On 18 October, the French press
publicised a new scandal surrounding bluefin tuna "laundering"
involving tuna caught by Turkish vessels being declared within the
French quota (3).
Over the past two years, the Greenpeace ships Esperanza and
Rainbow Warrior have documented illegal fishing practices by
European, Asian and North African fleets around the Mediterranean
Sea. (4) The European Commission opened infringement procedures on
26 September 2007 against seven EU Member States for failing to
comply with their obligations under ICCAT (5)
"The bluefin tuna recovery plan is an utter failure," said
Sebastian Losada of Greenpeace Spain." It blatantly disregards the
advice of ICCAT's own scientific committee and it is simply not
being enforced by governments which are parties to the ICCAT
Greenpeace believes that the Mediterranean tuna fishery is now
totally out of control, with one of the highest rates of illegal
fishing in the world. (6)
Greenpeace has welcomed the request by Turkey to include bluefin
tuna management on the agenda of next month's ICCAT conference and
the call by the US chair of ICCAT for a moratorium on the Eastern
Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery.
"ICCAT Members have shown they are simply not managing the
bluefin tuna fishery. The industry has been emptying the
Mediterranean Sea of bluefin tuna before their very eyes. The
fishery must be closed before it is too late, and remain closed
until the tuna population recovers," continued Losada.
On the basis of the precautionary principle, Greenpeace is
calling on ICCAT Parties to close the northern bluefin tuna fishery
until proper management is in place.
A range of other measures are needed, however. Greenpeace wants
to see marine reserves established to protect tuna breeding areas,
the advice of ICCAT scientists to be followed in setting the quota,
the introduction of minimum size limits to allow the species to
breed before being caught, fishing and farming capacities scaled
back to sustainable quota levels, and the elimination of pirate
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of
fully-protected marine reserves covering 40 per cent of the world's
oceans as an essential way to protect the full range of marine life
and restore the health of fish stocks.
Other contacts: Sebastián Losada, Greenpeace Spain oceans campaigner. Phone +34 626 998 254François Provost, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. Phone +33 623 590 963
Notes: (1) ICCAT Recommendation 2006-05: Multi-Annual Recovery Plan for Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, adopted in November 2006.(2) The 16th Annual Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas will be held in Antalya, Turkey, from 12 – 18 November 2007.(3) Midi Libre, Thursday 18 October 2007, p. 2.(4) Illegal practices documented by Greenpeace have included illegal fishing during the closed season, catches of juvenile tuna, the use of spotter planes and unregulated transhipments.(5) France, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain(6) In recent years, around 50,000 tonnes of bluefin tuna have been caught each year despite the legal quota for the species being around 32,000 tonnes.(7) For more information, refer to Greenpeace demands to ICCAT, 2007, and Greenpeace’s Contribution to the Hearing on Bluefin Tuna before the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament, Brussels, 28 June 2007 (available on request).
Exp. contact date: 2007-11-21 00:00:00