Bluefin Tuna on Brink of Extinction, Dive Magazine, 07/07/06
Source: Dive Magazine
Bluefin tuna stocks in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean are being stripped bare by illegal fishing activities, according to a report published by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF). The conservation group has called for a complete ban on bluefin fishing and the immediate introduction of a sustainable recovery plan in the Atlantic.
The WWF report revealed that catches of bluefin over the last two years were more than 40 per cent higher than the quota set by the 42-nation International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The report blamed soaring demand for bluefin tuna on the growth of sushi bars in recent years.
'The European Commission risks bearing witness to the collapse of this centuries-old fishery,' said Dr Simon Cripps, director of WWF's Global Marine Programme. 'We urge EU Fisheries Commissioner Borg to show leadership and call for an immediate total closure of the fishery, and request that he supports strong management measures at the November's ICCAT meeting that guarantee a future for the fishery.'
ICCAT's annual fishing quota of 32,000 tons was breached by more than 40 per cent in 2004 with a catch of 44,948 tonnes, rising to 45,547 in 2005. Real catches are likely to exceed 50,000 tonnes - a figure confirmed by the ICCAT scientific committee, said WWF.