Fisheries: EP crackdown on illegal tuna fishing

Euro MPS, identify reproduction areas and create 'havens'

23 May, 19:40

(ANSAmed) - STRASBOURG, MAY 23 - Calls have been made in the European Parliament to reduce further the quantity of illegal blue-fin tuna fishing in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean and to identify reproduction areas at sea, where fishing is to be forbidden. These are just some of the requests approved by an overwhelming majority (635 votes in favour, 16 against and 11 abstentions) in Strasbourg today with the aim of guaranteeing more sustainable development of stock. For the European Union, it is a case of incorporating into European law the recommendations agreed with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which mainly focus on ''the reduction of the dimensions of fishing fleets, the extension of closed fishing seasons for dragnets and heightened checks''. After the Parliament vote, the new rules must also be approved by the EU's Council of Ministers.

NO TO ILLEGAL FISHING - The reconstruction plans for blue-fin tuna stocks will see checks stepped up, including those concerning the transfer of tuna from nets to cages. All operations involving caging tuna will now have to be recorded on video. If the number or maximum weight of tuna is over 10% above the figure declared, the excess will automatically have to be released.

MONITORING - Member states will need to guarantee the monitoring by their national observers of all dragnet fishing boats of less than 20 metres long in 2012. For larger boats, a regional observer from the ICCAT will be tasked with monitoring.

Only 20% of dragnets were checked previously.

FEWER FISHING BOATS - Member states have until the start of 2013 to bring their fishing fleets in to line with the contingents agreed. The dragnet fishing season will also be reduced from two months to one, and will take place between May 15 and June 15. (ANSAmed).

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