Responsible tuna fishing as a guarantee of sustainable future

Spanish tuna fleet concerned by the socioeconomic impact of ICCAT inappropriate measures to manage bigeye tuna fisherie

Spanish tuna fleet concerned by the socioeconomic impact of ICCAT inappropriate measures to manage bigeye tuna fisherie

The Spanish tuna fleet has expressed its concern regarding the adoption of a new management measure of the bigeye tuna species in the Atlantic Ocean by ICCAT[1], due to the high impact that the reduction of catches of this species can have on others, such as yellowfin and skipjack, also objective of the fleet, because in most of the fishing sets the three species are caught, bigeye representing a smaller proportion.

According to this fleet, of which bigeye catches only represents 10%, a 20% reduction in catches of bigeye to the purse seine (around 6.000 tons) would mean collateral damage of some 54.000 tons of yellowfin and skipjack, as well as economic losses of at least 80 million euros, considering only the market value of these last two species, for which the purse seine is not subject to a quota.

According to the Spanish tuna fleet, represented in OPAGAC, to this should be added the losses in terms of activity in the canning factories, ports of disembarkation, loss of jobs or the need to scrap a considerable number of support vessels, if the Commission also decided to limit or eliminate the activity of these vessels, which would mean the destruction of more than 500 direct jobs, most of African sailors.

As a whole, and according to Opagac, “measures of this kind would jeopardize the viability of a sector that has been working in the Atlantic Ocean since the 1960s and generating economic activity in many developing countries of the region“. It should be noted that, only in the Atlantic countries in which it operates, the economic activity of our fleet translates into more than 15.000 direct and indirect jobs and a large investment for the creation of transforming industries.

For Opagac, since only 10% of the tropical tunas caught by our fleet in the Atlantic Ocean are bigeye tuna, any decision on the management of this stock must recognize this fact and apply consequential measures to minimize the impact on others stocks, because the management of tropical tunas must be designed so that the three species, of which the skipjack accounts for 60% of the catch, yellowfin tuna 30% and bigeye tuna 10%, are jointly and effective managed.

 [1] International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. It holds its 21st Extraordinary Meeting between November 12 to 19, 2018 in Dubrovnik (Croatia)

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