Fisheries

INSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable Fish

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The European Commission has today issued a report on the measures taken by EU countries to ensure the recovery of European eel.
The European Commission has today adopted a series of discard plans as it gears up for the introduction of an obligation to land all catches on 1 January 2015.
The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) has adopted its Multiannual Work Programme for 2015-2019 and the Annual Work Programme at the meeting of the Administrative Board held on 17 of October 2014.

Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus)

Bluefin tuna © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book
Northern bluefin tuna is found throughout the Atlantic Ocean, as well as in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. It is a warm-blooded fish which can live for up to 40 years, and grow to over 4 metres in length and 600 kg in weight. Typical specimens are around 2.5 metres long and weigh around 350 kg. Like other tunas, bluefin is highly migratory.

Atlantic bluefin tuna is divided by scientists into two stocks, Eastern and Western. Eastern bluefin tuna reach sexual maturity at around four years, and spawn in June. The main fishing season for the Eastern stock corresponds to the spring spawning season, when the fish come to the surface to form shoals, with most of the annual catch in the Mediterranean being taken in as little as six weeks. 

Scientists estimate that the size of the Eastern stock of adult bluefin tuna has fallen by 80% since the early 1970s. At the 2006 annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), a 15-year recovery plan was agreed, based on reduced TAC, a higher minimum landing size, and stricter control and enforcement.

Bluefin tuna are targeted using a wide range of fishing methods, from rod and line and traditional traps, to long-line fishing on the high seas, and the purse seine fishery. The Mediterranean industrial purse seine fishery which grew up in the 1990s now accounts for more than 70% of the annual EU catch. The purse seine fleet is based in a small number of ports in Spain, France and Italy. Tuna caught using this method are usually transferred to cages at sea for fattening, before being sold.

Long-term plans

The ICCAT recovery plan for Eastern bluefin tuna was adopted in Dubrovnik in 2006, and revised at the ICCAT 2008 annual meeting in Marrakesh. The revised plan was transposed into EU law in April 2009.