The current catch limit is 13,500 tons, with actual catches due to rampant under-reporting and poaching closer to 60,000 tons. WWF has recommended a quota of less than 6,000 tons.
According to the European fisheries commissioner a "substantial reduction" from current levels "would be the way to go to ensure a good possibility of having a viable stock until 2020 and a long-term sustainability of it." A spokesperson for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas said that quota levels would be based on science. Prior to a proposed ban on trade in bluefin being reject by CITES earlier this year, ICCAT's own scientists said that current quota levels are too high to prevent collapse of the bluefin tuna fishery.
In the past 30 years the Atlantic bluefin tuna populations have decline by over 80%, with Japan being far and away the world's largest consumer. When a ban on trade in bluefin was being considered, Japan said it would not abide by any laws prohibiting trade in bluefin and exerted considerable pressure to ensure that no ban was established.
photo: Alexandre Dulaunoy/Creative Commons
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