Tuna quota increases slammed

CONSERVATION groups have slammed increased quotas for southern bluefin tuna announced at the conclusion of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) annual meeting in Adelaide last week. 

Greenpeace and the Australian Marine Conservation Society have called for a “zero catch” as the only way to ensure survival of a species decimated by overfishing.

“Quotas for southern bluefin tuna have been raised for the third year in a row.
This is despite official stock assessments showing that over 90 per cent of the global population has already been fished,” said Nathaniel Pelle, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner.

“The southern bluefin fishery has been a case study in mismanagement and this new announcement continues to play Russian roulette with the survival of an entire species,” said Pelle.

With stocks at just five per cent of their original size, southern bluefin tuna remains critically endangered. However, the CCSBT has chosen a model of management that only has a 70 per cent chance of success and is not predicted to recover the species to the lowest reference point for a Commonwealth fishery until 2035.

“A zero catch is the only model predicted to return the species to even the lowest limit reference point for stock size for a Commonwealth managed fishery, within a reasonable time-frame and with anything like certainty,” said Pelle.

Australia has the largest quota by weight for southern bluefin of any country and almost exclusively takes juveniles which are later fattened in sea-cages.

“Current stock assessments show that this is already a fishery in collapse. The simple truth is we need to leave the southern bluefin tuna well alone for a while so that stocks can recover as quickly as possible” said Pam Allen, Australian Marine Conservation Society campaigner.

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