This week (Nov 17 - 24) the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) meets in Marrakesh, Morocco to discuss the state of Atlantic tuna. Along with Greenpeace and the Blue Ocean Institute, Oceana has called on the United States to push for a complete moratorium on the catch of bluefin tuna throughout the Atlantic basin.
The meeting also has significant implications for sharks, who are often caught by bluefin tuna fishermen.
Oceana's research vessel the Marviva Med has been observing bluefin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean, and two of our campaigners are attending the meeting.
Bluefin tuna populations around the world are collapsing due to overfishing as a result of poor management. Often known as "toro" in the sushi world, bluefin is coveted for its fatty belly meat and as a result, it's an extremely lucrative catch.
The ICCAT has set a declining quota for Atlantic bluefin over the next few years as part of a 15-year recovery plan. But most scientists agree that the quotas are nearly impossible to enforce. Xavier Pastor, Vice President of Oceana Europe, said:
"The laws continue to be disregarded and mocked. The bluefin tuna fishery around critical spawning areas must be urgently and completely closed until the stocks can recover, and the implementation of this decision must be effectively monitored."
We sincerely hope that ICCAT, which has been called by some the International Conspiracy to Catch all Tuna, doesn't live up to the nickname.