Fishing clubs from the Mediterranean and abroad are taking a stand with the IGFA at the upcoming 17th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
With the plight of the Atlantic bluefin tuna growing ever more grim, 13 fishing clubs and organizations from 10 countries have signed a proposal that IGFA President Rob Kramer will circulate at the meeting in Paris, France on the 17th – 27th November 2010. The letter outlines the significance of the bluefin and the perils the species currently faces, and proposes a no-take protection area in the bluefin’s only two known spawning grounds: the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
The condition of bluefin stocks has been a contentious issue for quite some time due to the rapid decline in their numbers and objections to decisions about their management from the recreational fishing community. Atlantic bluefin tuna are widely regarded as an iconic species for their remarkable capabilities. Weighing up to 700kg (1,500 lb), the world’s biggest tuna can dive to depths greater than 1,000 metres (3,000 feet) and is capable of migrating across the Atlantic Ocean – a distance of more than 7,700 km (4,800 miles). Sadly, growing sushi markets have increased commercial fishing pressure on the bluefin, and this once plentiful fish is now at the brink of collapse.
Swift, decisive action is required to protect the species’ two known spawning grounds and prevent a total loss of the majestic bluefin. For this reason, the IGFA has collaborated on a proposal to eliminate the harvesting of Atlantic bluefin tuna from the spawning grounds located within the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The recreational community is passionate about the need to save this iconic species, and the proposal has the support of influential fishing clubs in nine countries: the Italian Sportfishing Association and President Massimo Brogna, the Big Game Clube de Portugal and President Augusto Figueira, the Associação Açoriana de Pesca Desportiva de Mar, Portugal and President Carlos Palhinha, SFC “Punta Rata” Jezera, Croatia and President Pavlic Marinko and Croatian IGFA Representative Tomislav Šegedin, the Asociacion Pesca Recreativa Responsible Europea and Confederación Española de Pesca Recreativa Responsible and President Esteban Graupera, the Big Game De Italia and President Gianfranco Santolini, the Big Game Fishing Club France and President Michel Marchandise, the Club De Pesca Con Mosca Peninsula A.C., Mexico and President Nassim Joaquin Delbouis, Egyptian IGFA Representative Mohamed Safyadin El-Sehrawy, and the Japan Game Fish Association with President Junzo Okada.
“Leaving things up to the delegations of the contracting parties at ICCAT simply isn’t working,” shared IGFA President Rob Kramer, “It’s time observer organizations start working together to influence the system.”
For the official IGFA Policy Statement for the 17th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas click http://www.igfa.org/Conserve/Position-Statements.aspx