Written Question: Request for an opinion on increasing the bluefin tuna quotas for recreational fishing

(Source: European Parliament)

Date submitted: 8 April 2021

Question for written answer E-001885/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Marco Dreosto (ID)

Subject: Request for an opinion on increasing the bluefin tuna quotas for recreational fishing

In the seas off Italy, the arrival of Japanese factory trawlers in the 1990s brought changes to the management of bluefin tuna fishing, leading to imbalances in resource allocation and conflicts with small-scale fishers. The EU, as a contracting party to the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and the multiannual plan to replenish bluefin tuna stocks, sets the total catch quota for the signatory Member States. In Italy, the division of the national quota is currently heavily skewed in favour of seine fishing (performed by 12 registered motor vessels), which is allocated 74.4% of the fishable stocks, generating EUR 35 million annually in revenue from foreign companies buying live fattened fish for the Asian market.

A far lower quota of 13.5% is reserved for the approximately 30 longline fishing vessels supplying bluefin tuna to the Italian market. The quota of 8.46% assigned to the sole fixed tuna trap goes to flexible cages. By contrast, the smallest quota (0.45%) is split among the largest group: specialised recreational fishers, who have approximately 10 000 licences.

In the light of the above:

  1. Is the Commission considering issuing instructions to increase the quota for recreational fishing in order to protect the species, given the sustainable nature of this non-profit-making pursuit?
  2. Would it be possible to increase the minimum length for recreational fishing from 115 cm to 150/190 cm?
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