Apr 25 2008
The Norwegian senior scientist Leif Nøttestad had a clear recommendation to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) during a World Symposium on Atlantic bluefin tuna in Santander, Spain this week. The situation for the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is critical.
In his presentation Dr. Nøttestad, who is the scientific representative from Norway in ICCAT, recommended three actions: Ban tuna fishing, ban tuna fishing and ban tuna fishing. The main reason for this clear statement is that the bluefin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean Sea is totally out of control. There is a huge over-capacity in the fleet with more than 1000 vessels targeting this extremely valuable fish species only in the Mediterranean Sea. The recommended maximum quota of 15000 tons set by the scientific body (SCRS) of ICCAT in 2006 was not even considered as an option for a future effective rebuilding plan on Atlantic bluefin tuna.
(Dr. Leif Nøttestad at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway being interviewed at the world symposium on Atlantic bluefin tuna in Santander this week by Spanish television about the critical situation on the eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna stock.)
All scientific information about the Atlantic bluefin tuna points in a very negative direction, and clear action is critically needed for saving the bluefin tuna stock for a total fisheries collapse and a possible population collapse. For these serious reasons Norway decided to ban fishing on bluefin tuna in its own waters in 2007. The Norwegian quota is put aside for conservation purposes, until the critical situation has improved considerable. Based on the history of several other valuable fish species including the Norwegian spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus) collapse in the late 1960′s, the only medicine that has worked properly was to ban fishing until the population had sufficiently recovered before any fishing could be re-opened in a sustainable manner.
Photos: afishblog.com (upper) and Arne Saltskår