"The so-called 'bluefin tuna recovery plan' agreed last year is
nothing more than a bad joke," said Sebastian Losada, Greenpeace
Spain Oceans Campaigner. "While it allowed for a quota nearly
double to that agreed by ICCAT's own scientific committee, ICCAT
has not even managed to stick to this limited plan. If ICCAT wants
to truly recover bluefin tuna, not to mention its own credibility,
it must take urgent action and close the fishery now."
Unlawful activities were widespread in 2007, with ICCAT parties
such as the EU having declared catches at least 20 per cent above
their allocated quota (3). Numerous scandals have been made public,
including some country's catches being hidden under the quota of
another's (4). In a report released today, Greenpeace details a
number of illegal tuna fishing operations present across the ICCAT
management area, particularly within the Mediterranean (2). Based
upon thorough investigation and Greenpeace's observations at sea,
the report exposes the complete failure of current regulations to
control illegal fishing.
Key findings include:
Illegal fishing by Japanese and Italian fleets targeting bluefin
tuna, including the use by the Italian fleet of spotter planes a
day after ICCAT legislation banning them came into force;
Use of illegal driftnets by Italian and Tunisian fleets;
Unregulated and illegal fishing practices by the Libyan
Misreporting of bigeye tuna catches from the Atlantic Ocean by
the Taiwanese fleet;
Unregulated transhipments (offloading of catch from one ship to
another) in the Mediterranean;
Using 'flags of convenience' - buying flag use from other
countries, not registered to ICCAT, to escape complying with the
rules - by Japanese and Korean fleets.
"In order to protect it from collapse, ICCAT must agree to close
the northern bluefin fishery until the population shows signs of
sustained recovery, the species' breeding grounds are fully
protected, and a proper management regime based on scientific
advice is adopted and properly enforced," added Losada. "In
addition, ICCAT must fight Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported
(IUU) fishing in all the fisheries it manages and implement the
ecosystem approach and precautionary principle to fisheries
management that is legally required by international law."
Greenpeace advocates the creation of a network of no take marine
reserves, protecting 40 per cent of the world's oceans, as the long
term solution to the overfishing of tuna and other species, and the
recovery of our overexploited oceans.
Other contacts: Contacts for the Greenpeace delegation to ICCATOceans Campaigner - Sebastian Losada, Greenpeace Spain + 34 626 998 254Oceans Campaigner - Banu Dokmecibasi, Greenpeace Mediterranean + 90 532 263 11 14Oceans Campaigner - François Provost, Greenpeace International + 33 623 590 963 Communications Officer - Yesim Aslan, Greenpeace Mediterranean +90 532 324 32 04
Notes: (1) 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. (2) “Pirate Booty. How ICCAT is failing to curb IUU fishing”, available at http://www.greenpeace.org/pirate-booty (3) European Union (EU) Member States have this year fished over 20,000 tonnes of bluefin tuna - 20 per cent above their legal quota.(4) On 18 October, the French press publicised a new scandal involving tuna catches from Turkish vessels being declared under the French quota. Midi Libre, Thursday 18 October 2007, p. 2.