Protection proposals for Atlantic bluefin tuna rejected
On both sides of the Atlantic, efforts to protect the declining stock of bluefin tuna have been rejected. Scientists have estimated that the annual bluefin catch is about 61,000 tons, twice the agreed legal limit, and recommended a cut to less than 15,000 tons.
They have also urged the closure of spawning grounds during prime months, noting that the population of mature tuna has dropped by 80 percent since 1970. ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) estimated the current level of fishing is three times higher than it should be.
Economics, however, have defeated data. The tuna sell for as much $100,000 each.
In the U.S., the current administration has directed that fleets be allowed to keep more bluefin caught as by-catch and that long-lining (up to 40 miles of gaffed lines stretched through the water) during the spawning season in the Gulf of Mexico be promoted. In the European Union, a proposal initiated by Monaco to block trade in bluefin through CITES (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species) was defeated by Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Greece and Malta.