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Decision Day For Atlantic Bluefin And Albacore

As the final day of the ICCAT annual meeting, today will see the Commission make important decisions on the future catch quota for Atlantic bluefin and albacore. Only last year the ICCAT began to set the eastern bluefin quota fully in line with scientific advice, with 2012 stock assessment showing first signs of population recovery.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) began its annual meeting on November 18, which will close today in Cape Town, South Africa. The Commission’s Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) concluded that they cannot offer robust advice to justify an increase in the eastern quota.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), five years ago the ICCAT was called “an international disgrace” for its management of eastern bluefin tuna. The WWF said the ICCAT will threaten its credibility again if it seeks to increase the quota despite clear advice not to.

A 2014 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 13,400 tons has already been established in line with scientific advice. WWF stated that it was hoping for an improved stock assessment that addressed existing uncertainties will be soon available. WWF is urging that the ICCAT must be patient and ensure decisions made are in line with scientific advice, and do not reverse recent progress and threaten recovery of the tuna population.