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Bluefin Tuna
Bluefin Tune captured by "Vågly" in 1971
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Status, advice and fisheries

Stock status of East Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna indicate that there is no overfishing. 

Reported catches in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean reached a peak of over 50,000 tonnes in 1996 and then decreased substantially, stabilizing around Total Allowable Catch (TAC) levels established by ICCAT for the most recent period. Catches between 2013 and 2017 were 13,243 t, 13,261 t, 16,201 t, 19,131 t, and 23,616 t for the East Atlantic and Mediterranean. The combination of size limits and the reduction of catch has certainly contributed to a rapid increase of the abundance of the stock. The Committee noted that reported catches are in line with recent TACs due to current monitoring and enforcement controls. Nevertheless, there is recently revealed significant IUU fishing among some Contracting Parties to the Commission (CPC’s), compromising the rebuilding of this valuable fish stock. 
 
Total allowable catches are set to 28 200 tonnes in 2018, 32 240 tonnes in 2019 and 36 000 tonnes in 2020. Norway was a major fishing nation on the eastern bluefin tuna from 1950–1960's, with catches of 2,000 to 15,000 tonnes during this period. This species performed regular feeding migration routes to Norwegian waters until the end of the 1970s, when fewer and fewer bluefin tuna found their way to Norwegian waters. The positive turning point happened in 2013 when Norwegian fishermen caught bluefin tuna as bycatch in other pelagic fisheries. During the last few years more and more bluefin tuna have been observed along the coast of Norway and in offshore waters. The Norwegian bluefin tuna quota is 104 tons in 2018 and will be 239 tonnes in 2019 and 300 tonnes in 2020.
 
Information available has demonstrated that catches of bluefin tuna from the East Atlantic and Mediterranean were seriously under-reported between the mid-1990s through 2007. The Committee has estimated that realized catch during this period likely was on the order of 50,000 t to 61,000 t per year based on the number of vessels operating in the Mediterranean Sea and their respective catch rates. The 2017 assessment uses these estimates (1996–2007) rather than the declared catches. 
 
In 2017, the Committee presented short-term projections until 2022. According to the base model annual constant catches up to 36,000 tonnes have higher than 60% probability of maintaining Fishing mortality F below F0.1 throughout 2022. The Committee noted that reported catches are in line with recent Total Allowable Catches (TACs), due to current monitoring and enforcement controls. An extensive fishery for bluefin tuna is conducted predominantly using purse seines and longline; rod and reel, drift nets, and fish traps are also commonly used fishing gears. Large catches by purse seiners have affected stock levels. It is also widely believed that the introduction in 1977 of fish farming/fish-fattening activities, and good market conditions, have resulted in major changes to fisheries in these regions. 

 

Facts about Bluefin tuna

Latin name: Thunnus thynnus 
Spawning area: Warm waters (> 24 °C) on specific and limited locations in the Mediterranean around the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Malta, Cyprus, and Libya.
Juvenile feeding area: Mediterranean Sea, coast of Portugal and Bay of Biscay
Adult feeding area: North-Atlantic Ocean, including Norwegian coast and Norwegian Sea
Maximum size: 3.3 m / 725 kg
Life span: 40 years
Diet: Zooplankton and small fish as juveniles; mature fish prey on schooling fish such as mackerel, herring, blue whiting, sand lance and sprat, in addition to squid species.