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December 11, 2017 5:40 pm EST
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NOAA Fisheries Calls for Temporary Ban on Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna

The United States last week proposed a temporary fishing ban on eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna to allow these fisheries to begin to recover from severe overfishing and to allow countries to put monitoring measures in place. Despite strong support from Canada at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the measure was not adopted by the members of the international body charged with conserving Atlantic tunas and tuna-like species. Instead, ICCAT adopted a proposal put forward by Japan requesting nations that fish for eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna to submit to the ICCAT Secretariat a detailed report on how their current regulations are being implemented to comply with a fishing plan adopted in 2006. The reports are to be submitted before next year’s annual ICCAT meeting where a new bluefin tuna stock assessment will also be presented. ICCAT also acted on an earlier U.S. initiative to track every Atlantic bluefin tuna from the moment it is caught until it reaches its final market. Providing ICCAT with a concrete account of how many fish are landed will be a crucial part of improving control over this fishery. In other issues, the Commission reduced total allowable catch for northern and southern Albacore, adopted its first measure to reduce the unintentional catch of seabirds in longline fishing gear, and agreed to reduce mortality on porbeagle and North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks. The annual ICCAT meeting concluded on November 18 in Antalya, Turkey.

For additional information, please contact Kelly Denit (301) 713-2276 x 202 or kelly.denit@noaa.gov.

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