In a visit to Malta French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier has called for transparency in the European Commission’s decision to cut short the bluefin tuna fishing season. Commenting on that Malta’s Resources and Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino hadsaid that the Mediterranean nation’s bluefin tuna catch this year was two-thirds less than in 2007. Barnier replied that both France and Malta have the right to know where the tunas are.
Both the nations expect the European Commission to communicate the precise figures on tuna stocks, told Barnier. He also called for a precise, competent and transparent working relationship with the European Commission on this subject. The tuna row started when the EU’s executive arm called an early halt to industrial bluefin tuna fishing at the peak of the season this month. According to EU the step was taken because it considered that quotas were filling up much faster than member states were declaring.
The decision of EU has sparked series of protests in France and Italy. Barnier opined that if the resource is fragile and endangered, this is not only a question for the European fishermen. He pressed that the member states must reinforce the rules, the management and the controls for all the fishermen of the Mediterranean, including in Libya and Turkey.
From Malta Pullicino said that both the nations are for sustainable fishing and so for transparent information to (EU) member states in order to be in a position itself as well to curtail what needs to be curtailed.