EU to ensure sustainable Atlantic tuna stocks
“Our experience of recent years is that concerted efforts by all parties can secure rapid progress towards more sustainable fisheries. We now need to continue our work towards a long-term management regime for Eastern Bluefin tuna as proposed by the European Commission.” Said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas, has concluded its Annual Meeting in Marrakesh on 14 – 21 November. Dominating the negotiations was the stock of Eastern Atlantic tuna for which, following a widely recognized improvement in their stock compared to a decade ago, ICCAT agreed to a gradual increase in the total allowed catches (TAC) reaching a maximum of 36,000 ton in 2020 (28,200t in 2018 and 32,240t in 2019).
The increase reflects the outcome of action led by the European Union and the sustained efforts by fishermen and the fishing industry, in the last decade. Based on an EU-proposal, for the first time in ICCAT history, Harvest Control Rules were adopted for the Northern albacore and a quota increase of 20%. Harvest Control Rules are the latest generation of science-based approaches to effective fisheries management and provide guidelines on how much fishing can take place according to the state of the stock. Moreover, ICCAT adopted measures to freeze the fishing effort on the stock of Mediterranean albacore and adopted Recommendations reducing the TACs for Northern and Southern Atlantic swordfish, as tabled by the EU. Finally, important steps were taken to protect sharks in the North Atlantic, including the Norther shortfin mako. As member of ICCAT, the European Union is represented in the negotiations by the European Commission.