European Union closing Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery: Too Little, Too Late
*Brussels, 9 June* - Bluefin tuna is one step closer to extinction as
the EU prepares to close this year's Mediterranean bluefin season-
which should not have been opened in the first place, said Greenpeace.
European 'purse seine' fishing, one of the most unsustainable
fishing methods which takes the largest chunk of catches (about 70%), has
almost reached its quota for 2010, one week before the official end
of the season: a step that has been taken before. But the tuna
massacre is set to continue as European fishermen flying non-European
flags of convenience to avoid government regulations will continue to fish.
Non-EU vessels represent 40 percent of the ICCAT quota.
*Greenpeace International oceans campaigner Oliver Knowles, onboard
the Rainbow Warrior,* said: /"Bluefin tuna is on the brink of
extinction and fishing should never have taken place this year- yet
another example of how politics have failed our oceans and the
Mediterranean. Scientists have shown that the only appropriate
fishing quota for bluefin tuna is zero. These ships should not have
been allowed to fish at all this
While only a handful of French ships and one Greek ship are still out at
sea, their capacity to catch is vast. Spanish ships are reportedly already
heading back to port. The French fleet has reached over 85% of its quota.
Non-EU ships flying flags from countries like Turkey and Lybia are also
expected to still be fishing.
The EU bluefin fishing season this year began on 16 May
and will continue until 15 June.
Many of the fish caught this year are currently being transported to
large fattening farms, where they will be fed before they are killed
and sold on the lucrative Japanese market.
Greenpeace is committed to save bluefin tuna. Every fish caught brings
the tuna one step closer to extinction. Greenpeace ships the Rainbow
Warrior and the Arctic Sunrise have confronted fishermen in the
Mediterranean over the past few weeks. An activist had to be airlifted
to hospital following a recent incident with French fishermen when he
was stabbed through the leg with a grappling hook.
It is estimated that over 80 percent of the bluefin tuna have already
been taken from the world's waters and the species could disappear if
fishing is not halted immediately.
Greenpeace has for years been campaigning for better fisheries
management and for a global network of marine reserves to cover forty
percent of the world's oceans, including in the Mediterranean's
bluefin tuna spawning grounds.
For more information, contact:
Mark Breddy, Greenpeace European Unit: +32 496 1562 29
Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner (onboard the Rainbow Warrior): +31 20 712 2675
Steve Smith, Greenpeace International communications: +31 643 787 359