Increased Gibraltar Quota of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Press Release 2nd August 2019

Increased Gibraltar Quota of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
 
With the announcement of the 2019 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) fishing quota increase to 16.74 tonnes, The Nautilus Project (TNP) and the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS) would like to state their joint position regarding the increase of the quota.
 
The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/21860/9331546), which is considered the most authoritative guide to species’ conservation status.   Under the scientific criteria that it uses, the IUCN considers that the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna “faces a high risk of extinction in the near future”, with the assessment for the species stating that it “has become rare relative to historical levels because of massive overfishing”.
 
Despite calls from both GONHS and TNP over the years to reduce the quota, the decision to increase the local quota makes little sense against the available scientific evidence. Furthermore, although the introduction of increased regulation is a positive step in principle, the organisations still believe that Gibraltar’s quota should be lowered to bring it in line with that of other Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic jurisdictions, all of which have proportionally much smaller quotas. This remains the case even after the latest increases in their quotas by other jurisdictions.
 
It is important that Gibraltar should lead by example in the conservation of this endangered species and as such, should seriously consider not allowing the landing of tuna, which could be replaced instead with a tag-and-release programme.  This would make sense in Gibraltar, where there is no recognised commercial fishing of tuna and all tuna fishing is supposedly recreational.

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