A Scottish MEP has written to EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella to point out that bluefin tuna can be expected to appear in greater numbers in UK water, and this represents opportunities for British fishermen.
Ian Duncan’s letter to Karmenu Vella points out that when relative stability was established in 1983, there was no bluefin fishery in UK waters. Consequently there is no UK quota for bluefin tuna, as there was none to be caught at that time. But things are changing and last summer a shoal of bluefin were spotted in the Channel.
‘Scientists are conservatively estimating that the sea temperatures around Europe will rise by 1.8°C in the next 50 years . I draw this to your attention because this will have significant implications for how fisheries are managed in the future,’ Ian Duncan writes to the fisheries commissioner.
‘According to scientists, the appearance of tuna around the UK is due to global warming . This stock constitutes therefore a new fishery. A single Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Bluefin tuna is currently set for the entire Eastern Atlantic, East of Longitude 45° W. British fishermen deserve a share of this new fishery.’
He said that there is a precedent for this, as when mackerel population patterns changed, the EU Commission agreed to a re-allocation of quota to Iceland and the Faroes, and the sae approach is needed to ensure that British fishermen are fairly treated as tuna migrate in increasing amounts through UK waters.
‘I would be happy to bring a delegation of British fishermen to meet with you when we can discuss this matter in greater detail,’ he writes to Karmenu Vella.