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Bluefin Tuna Season Begins European Union, May 28, 13

On 27 May, the European Commission (EC) announced that the Bluefin tuna season has begun. The period 26 May to 24 June marks the season where large vessels, purse seiners are allowed to fish Bluefin tuna. According to the press release, seven EU Member States are active in that kind of fishery: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus.

However, Bluefin tuna has been devastated during the previous years’ mainly because of overfishing, pollution and the lack of strict regulations. According to WWF, Bluefin tuna are one of the most commercially valuable fish. Japan is known for consuming more than 50 percent of the world’s Bluefin tuna, as it is well used in sushi recipes.

Because of the greediness in Bluefin tuna fishing, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) adopted a reinforced multi-annual recovery plan at its last annual meeting in November 2012. The plan was adopted by the EU, as the EU is member of the ICCAT.

According to the press release, and based on the experiences of previous years and given the particularities of this year’s campaign, a strict control and inspection program has been put in place. The program involves a significant deployment of inspectors, patrol vessels and aircrafts coordinated by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the Member States concerned.

Moreover, EC will also monitor catches and analyses Vessel Monitoring System data on a constant basis to ensure that all rules, and particularly the individual vessels’ quotas, are fully respected.

Apart from the seven EU member states, from the first July, Croatia will also participate in the joint deployment plan for the Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Atlantic waters for 2013.