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Brussels, 23 May 2014
Facts and figures: 2014 Bluefin Tuna Fishing Season
The Bluefin tuna fishery is regulated by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to which the EU is a contracting party. ICCAT adopted a reinforced multi-annual recovery plan for Bluefin tuna in 2012 and further measures have been adopted at its 2013 annual meeting to improve the control of Bluefin tuna caught alive by purse seiners and traps for farming purposes.
The 2014 Bluefin tuna season for large vessels, purse seiners, will run from 26 May to 24 June. 8 EU member states are involved in the fishery (Cyprus, France, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain).
Continuous cross-checking will be undertaken by the European Commission to ensure that measures are fully respected by all Member States involved, in particular fishing seasons, quotas and the new control measures. The Commission will also deploy its own inspectors and carry out spot checks at critical moments and in particular at the time of caging into the farms.
For the first time the Croatian purse seine and line vessels will operate as part of the EU fleet and will be entirely subject to the EU control and monitoring programme.
This year, the European Commission adopted a new Specific Control and Inspection Programme (SCIP), which follows a multispecies approach and sets quantifiable benchmarks and control targets for the fisheries concerned. Based on those Benchmarks, a Joint Deployment Plan (JDP) for the control of the Bluefin tuna fishery for 2014 has been adopted by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA).
As in previous years, the 2014 plan brings together the European Commission, Member States and the EFCA, and draws on the resources of the eight EU Member States involved in the fishery.
The ICCAT Recovery Plan
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is an inter-governmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas. The EU is represented as one of the 49 Contracting party in ICCAT.
In 2006, ICCAT adopted a 15-year Recovery Plan for bluefin tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. The Plan addressed concerns raised by the Scientific Committee, notably an excess of fishing capacity and a lack of compliance with ICCAT measures. The ICCAT Recovery Plan entered into force on 13 June 2007 and was strengthened in 2008 and again in 2009.
In November 2010, a reduction of the fishing allocation for bluefin tuna was agreed and the control and inspection policy for all fishing activities was reinforced. ICCAT also assessed the compliance of inspections, capacity and fishing plans for the 2011 Bluefin tuna fishing campaign.
In November 2012, the ICCAT Recovery plan was amended with a slight increase of the overall TAC to 13.400t as of 2013, with an EU quota of 7.548t compared to 5.756t in 2011 and 2012. Further measures were adopted to strengthen a set of control aspects and the one month fishing season for purse seiners in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean was postponed by ten days.
During the 2013 ICCAT Annual Meeting, new rules were agreed for the use of stereoscopic cameras when live Bluefin tuna are caged into farms. The overall total allowable catch (TAC) has not been modified but the EU quota for 2014 rose to 7.939 tonnes due to the inclusion of the Croatian quota of 390,6 tonnes.