Parliament supports bluefin tuna management plan


MEPs give the green light to an agreement which transposes into EU law certain provisions of the international management plan for bluefin tuna caught in the East Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea.

The text, adopted by 643 votes in favor, 11 against and 47 abstentions, calls on member states to pay “particular attention” to artisanal and small-scale fishing when allocating national quotas and to “strive to allocate a specific sectoral quota for artisanal fishing. coastal vessels ”. National authorities should also offer incentives to fishing vessels deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact. Other measures include:

Increase in fishing capacity up to 20% for purse seiners; New sectoral quotas for small vessels and for pole-and-line vessels in the Azores, Madeira and the Canaries; Increase in by-catch limits from 5% to 20% of total catch; Seven-day extension of the purse seine fishing season (to cover the period from May 26 to July 1); Extend the fishing season in the event of unfavorable weather conditions; Strengthen the monitoring and control system;

The proposal transposes into EU law recommendation 18-02 issued by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in November 2018, establishing a multiannual management plan for bluefin tuna in the Atlantic. East and the Mediterranean Sea. The transposition covers all control measures which concern the catching and farming of bluefin tuna in EU waters and / or by EU vessels in the convention area. During the plenary debate preceding the vote on Monday evening, MEPs called on the Council to respect the outcome of the trilogue negotiations and to reach an agreement to endorse the proposal. The Parliament and the Presidency of the Council reached an agreement on the Commission proposal on 10 November 2020. This agreement was however subsequently rejected by Coreper due to the concerns of the Member States over their exclusive attribution competence fishing opportunities.

“I think Parliament’s demand for more attention from Member States in the allocation of quotas to the small-scale artisanal fishing sector is reasonable. The Council’s turnaround is unacceptable. There is an agreement signed during the trilogue and we expect it to be honored. Failure to do so would set a dangerous precedent ”, rapporteur Giuseppe FERRANDINO (S&D, IT) said during the debate

Like all Atlantic tunas, the eastern bluefin tuna stock is managed by ICCAT, an intergovernmental fisheries organization created in 1966, of which the EU has been a contracting party since 1997. In 2006, ICCAT adopted restrictive measures for trade in bluefin tuna for 2007-2022 with the aim of avoiding a possible collapse of fishing stocks. In 2018, after verifying that stocks had recovered, ICCAT moved from a recovery plan to a management plan (Recommendation 18-02), which entered into force in June 2019.

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