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Spanish Tuna Fishers Raise Complaint Against Commissioner Damanaki

The Spanish tuna fishing fleet has raised a complaint against European Commissioner, Maria Damanaki for “shameful” attitude in supporting a halt on the increase of the Atlantic bluefin tuna catch quota. The bluefin limit for the Spanish fleet will remain at the 2,504 ton volume for 2014, as it was this year.

The decision was made at the annual meeting of the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) which closed yesterday in Cape Town, South Africa. The Spanish tuna industry has signed a joint statement to say it is disappointed by Damanaki’s attitude towards a rise in the catch allowance, stating that scientific assessments have shown a recovery in the bluefin stock.

Spanish Ministry of Agriculture said that the efforts of Spain and the inferred consent of other member states fell on deaf ears and “the refusal of the European Commission prevented any increase in the fee of great interest for more than ten member states.”

Representatives from the Spanish tuna industry have argued that the performance of Damanaki is more of a personal conviction that is against the interests of the fisheries sector community and is unacceptable at the highest political level.

They describe that Damanaki showed an “inflexible position” in front of other member nations of the ICCAT that do not belong to the European Union. The Commissioner denied Norway’s proposal to modify the recovery plan to increase the period of four months of fishing for bluefin tuna in the region.