Malta's tuna quota provisionally halved, final decision by June
by David Lindsay
As the European Union struggles to achieve a balance between the
conservation of a vanishing species and commercial fishing interests,
fisheries ministers meeting this week have provisionally halved the bluefin
tuna quotas of all EU member states until the definitive quota to be
allotted to each member state has been established.
As such, Malta's quota has been temporarily halved from 344 tonnes to 173
The move, although provisional, is bound to catalyse a vociferous reaction
from Malta's tuna fishermen, who have already been outspoken against any
initiative aimed at limiting their catches.
At the end of November, a meeting of the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) in Dubrovnik, Croatia proposed a
15-year plan aimed at gradually reducing allowable tuna catches in the
Mediterranean from the current 32,000 tonnes to 25,500 tonnes by 2010.
In addition to the reduction of quotas, the Dubrovnik meeting also called
for a number of technical measures aimed at limiting the decline of the
These include an extension of the closed season for bluefin tuna and a ban
on large-scale pelagic (open sea) long-line vessels between 1 June and 31
December. Similar restrictions are also to be introduced in respect of purse
seine fishing, bait boats and pelagic trawlers.
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