Historically High Bluefin Tuna Quota Set by ICCAT
The Bluefin tuna industry received a windfall in Marrakech, with proposed TAC increases over the period 2018 to 2020, culminating in the highest TAC ever set. There is a hike on the 2018 TAC of 4,500 tonnes, up to 28,200 tonnes from 23,655 in 2017, with a projected increase to 36,000 tonnes for 2020. This is despite uncertainties over the extent of the recovery of the resource, uncertainty which meant ICCAT was unable to move from a recovery plan to a management plan.
Despite this windfall, the Spanish industry was disappointed by the outcome. It accused the EU of not knowing how to negotiate, given the acceptance by the EU of a small reduction in its TAC allocation key. Others accused ICCAT of placing short term profit ahead of longer term conservation, and the TAC hikes a disgrace.
With such relatively large increases in TACs over the next 3 years, it is well within the powers of Member States to step up and allocate a quota to the small-scale fishery sectors, which have been on the sharp end of conservation measures since 2006.
Interestingly ICCAT highlighted that the needs of artisanal fisheries in coastal developing contracting party countries (CPCs) could receive part of the unallocated reserves from ICCAT in 2019 and 2020. This could pave the way for a dedicated artisanal fishery Bluefin tuna quota at ICCAT level, given political will to do so.
In this sea of plenty, LIFE urges the EU and Member States to do the right thing, and allocate a fair share tuna quota to small scale hook and line fishers, as we have been urging for years.