Bluefin Tuna is an emblematic species, fished and appreciated all across the globe. But when I took office four years ago, the state of the stocks was extremely alarming. We were exporting and eating more bluefin tuna than we were expected to catch!
In 2012 we managed to take action at global level: we implemented, within the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), a very strict recovery plan based on advice by scientists. Quotas have been reduced, our fleet has become smaller and the fishing period has been shortened – this year, it will start next Monday 26 May and already close a month later, on 24 June.
The rules are there, but work remains to be done. We will only be able to preserve bluefin tuna if all actors play by the rules and put the priority on controls. The European Commission, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and Member States dedicate tremendous resources to enforce the rules. For the 2014 season, we will deploy sea and air patrols to control that the fishing season and quotas are respected. We will monitor catches and inspect caging operations in tuna farms and, if required, take the necessary action to avoid overfishing.
Today we can already see first signs that efforts are paying off. The situation is very different from 2010 when the stock was close to extinction. I am confident that we are on the right path – the path to recovery.BLUEFIN TUNA: THE LONG PATH OF RECOVERY,