Commission welcomes ICCAT decisions

The EC has welcomed most decisions taken by ICCAT The EC has welcomed most decisions taken by ICCAT

The European Commission has said it welcomes most decisions taken at the ICCAT annual meeting held in Morocco last week, but regrets that its shark proposals were not supported.

The recovery plan for Eastern bluefin tuna was reviewed and, in line with scientific advice, the TAC was set at 13,400 tons per year as of 2013 - a slight increase compared to 2012.

The TAC for Western bluefin tuna was set at 1750 tons for 2013, the level recommended by scientific advice, and a process was launched to review the existing rebuilding plan.

The TACs addressing all types of fishing mortality for blue and white marlins were set at 1985 tons and 355 tons respectively per year, as recommended by scientists. The EU share is 480 tons.

With regards to sharks, the EU’s proposal to limit catches of shortfin mako to current levels as recommended by scientific advice, as well as the proposal for a ban on the retention of porbeagle which had already been tabled, were not supported, but the EU’s proposal to improve compliance with existing shark measures was adopted.

The EU proposal for minimum standard for port inspection was adopted, and the implementation of the electronic bluefin tuna catch documentation scheme will start on 16 May 2013. A process to put in place catch documentation schemes for other tuna species in the near future was also launched.

Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, welcomed the decisions on sustainability of fisheries, but said, “I regret that ICCAT was not successful in its decisions on a better protection of sharks, as measures tabled by the EU for the sustainability of stocks of shortfin mako and portbeagle were not supported."

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