This menu organises news, documents, projects, profiles and links into key topics, and the menu along the top divides the contents of the site by type.
Bycatch / discards
Chain of custody / Supply chain management
Corruption / mismanagement
Flag state issues
Governance / management
International trade / WTO
Monitoring, control and surveillance
Port state issues
Retail / consumers
18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Italy in flagrant flouting of tuna rules
Rome, Italy - Italy's widespread disregard of fisheries management rules for Mediterranean bluefin tuna has been confirmed by a new WWF report "Lifting the lid on Italy's bluefin tuna fishery" surveying Italian catches, markets and transfers to fish farms.
The independent and exhaustive report contradicts Italian government claims that the early closure of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery this year meant Italy would not reach its tuna quota, finding instead that the 2008 catch was a minimum 700 tonnes over quota.
This comes on top of findings that Italian fishers were 40 per cent over quota on the imperilled fishery for 2007, more than five times in excess of the officially admitted over-run of just 327 tonnes.
The survey was conducted for WWF by ATRT, the consultancy which earlier this year reported that Italy was Europe's leader in fishing overcapacity for Mediterranean bluefin tuna, with an industrial purse seine fleet capable of catching double the national tuna quota.
Fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean is unsustainable and totally out of control. In light of the data in WWF's latest report, the Italian government now has all the elements to combat this widespread system of illegal fishing, said Michele Candotti, CEO of WWF Italy.
Todays publication of WWFs report "Lifting the lid on Italy's bluefin tuna fishery" follows an expert performance review of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) - ordered by the commission itself - labelling the conduct of the fishery an international disgrace just last month.
ICCAT's scientific committee also just published last week its verdict on the Mediterranean bluefin tuna stock, confirming that some 61,000 tonnes of the fish were taken from the Mediterranean in 2007 - twice the legal quota ' and that the spawning stock is in crisis, being only 36 per cent of its levels thirty years ago.
WWF will present its new report to the Italian fisheries ministry as well as to European Commission fisheries officials, urging prompt investigations into its findings.
The report also details how tuna fishing flotillas dominated by Italian vessels were assisted by illegal spotter aircraft operating from Italian airfields.
Other illegal or unrecorded diversions of the Italian tuna catch in both 2007 and 2008 occurred into fish farms in Croatia, Malta and Tunisia - in addition to unrecorded domestic consumption and mislabelled exports.
Italy's official fleet figures of 185 vessels involved in tuna fishing and ranching are also rubbished by the report.
Italian flagged vessels identified as positively or probably having been directly involved in bluefin tuna fishing and ranching during the 2008 fishing season inside the Mediterranean Sea in this report amounted to 283 units, of which 27 are longliners, 162 purse seiners, 73 trawlers and 21 tugboats, a sum much higher than official records showed, the report said.
Of these, 47 vessels were not equipped with vessel monitoring systems; 160 did not have fishing licenses; and 82 vessels were unregistered to ICCAT in 2008.
WWF has welcomed the support of the independent review into ICCAT's performance for an immediate closure of the fishery as a necessary step to avoiding its likely collapse.
Italy's illegal activity in the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery is not just a threat to this magnificent species ' but also jeopardises the future of those trying to fish this resource in a sustainable and legal way, added Candotti.
ICCAT Contracting Parties will meet in Marrakech, Morocco, from 17-24 November 2008 when fresh management decisions on the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery will be taken. WWF is advocating an immediate closure ' until the fishery is brought under control and sustainable management measures are put in place.
click to view source website
Issues/Corruption / mismanagement
Ocean Areas/Mediterranean Sea