French Fisheries Minister Michel Barnier informed that he wanted the commission “to explain its decision in an intelligible way”. The commission has announced the closure of bluefin tuna fishing season two weeks early because the stocks are low. It is said that the EU fisheries ministers are set to discuss the dispute on Tuesday June 24. It is fact that the demand for Mediterranean tuna is much high especially in Japanese sushi cuisine, which is now a global success.
Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg told that there were countless failures to properly implement the rules, which have been agreed at international level, to manage the bluefin stock sustainably. According to him the commission was aware of eight French purse seine trawlers that had spent up to 21 days fishing since the start of the season, but had so far declared no catches.
As per the official figures some Italian vessels overshot their quota by between 100 and 240 percent. Barnier told that the commission’s figures are based on estimates or projections more than on facts. He informed that at the moment of the commission’s ban, only 52 percent of France’s quotas were full. Nearly 300 Italian and French fishermen protested in Malta over the commission’s move and threatened to block the island nation’s harbours if Commissioner Borg – himself Maltese – declined to hear their concerns.
According to the environmental group Greenpeace says there is a high risk that the bluefin tuna stocks in the Mediterranean will collapse. A Greenpeace fisheries expert, Sebastian Losada, told informed that the number of boats is so big that within just a couple of weeks they can catch their whole quota.