From 16 May to 14 June purse seiners are allowed to fish for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic. Vessels from seven EU member states are active in the bluefin tuna fishery (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus). Together with bluefin tuna fish traps, another important sector in the fishery, they account for 80% of the EU's quota. The EU's overall quota is 5756 tonnes for 2012 (the same as in 2011), compared to 7087 in 2010.
Based on the experiences of previous years and taking into account the particularities of this year's campaign, a strict control and inspection programme has been put in place to monitor all aspects of the bluefin tuna fishery and enforce the rules. It involves a significant deployment of inspectors, patrol vessels and aircrafts and is coordinated by the Commission, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the Member States concerned. The Commission also monitors catches and analyses Vessel Monitoring System data (a satellite based control system) on an hourly basis to ensure that all rules, and particularly the individual vessels' quotas, are fully respected.