November 27, 2013
Members of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas heeded calls by environmental groups and left bluefin tuna catch quotas in the Atlantic unchanged, while rejecting proposals to impose the first quotas for some shark species.
The commission, which is known as ICCAT and has 46 member countries as well as the European Union, decided to leave the 2014 quota at 1,750 metric tons in the western Atlantic and 13,400 tons in the eastern Atlantic at a week-long meeting in Cape Town that ended yesterday.
“We are very happy about that,” Sergi Tudela, head of fisheries for the Worldwide Fund for Nature, told reporters in Cape Town yesterday. “It was very important for ICCAT to stick to science and to follow the scientific recommendations against some pressure from the contracting parties to increase the quota this year.”
Atlantic bluefin tuna, sold in premium sushi restaurants, can sell for tens of thousands of dollars per fish, which can each grow to the size of a small car.
“We decided to wait until next year’s stock assessment,” before deciding whether to review catch quotas, Masanori Miyahara, the commission’s chairman, said in an interview after the conclusion of the meetings. “Research is going on but we haven’t received the outcomes yet. We have worked very constructively and the results are very good for the stocks.”