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Azores Bigeye Fisheries To Be Re-Opened Portugal, October 2, 13

The outcome of negotiations to reinforce the bigeye tuna quota for fishermen of the Azores has allowed for the organization of reopening its bigeye fisheries. The Regional Secretariat of Natural Resources of the Azores was satisfied with the decision.

The Regional Directorate of Fisheries, with the Department of Natural Resources, Security and Maritime Services has organized the revival of the Azores bigeye industry. The Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately 1,500 kilometers west of Lisbon.

The region has proposed limitations on landings that allow five tons of bigeye to be caught by each vessel per day and prohibits bigeye under the weight of 10 kilograms being landed.

Regional Director of Fisheries, Luis Costa, stressed that the existing bigeye tuna quota is shared by the Azores, Madeira and the Portuguese Continent and in recent years has appeared to be insufficient. According to the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources of Madeira, Manuel Correia, bigeye tuna is the main species of tuna for economic gain for Madeira fishermen.

However, Costa explained that along with the Government of the Republic, the ICCAT and the European Union efforts will be made to prevent the current allocated quota of around 5,025 tons of bigeye to avoid overfishing.

For many years, bigeye tuna has been rated by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) stock status report as subject to overfishing, or overfished in the Atlantic Ocean. More recently, the stock levels of bigeye in this region have been reported by ISSF as ‘green’. The ISSF explains this as: “Spawning biomass is at or above Biomass at Maximum Sustainable Yield (BMSY).”