Lee Crockett, who directs Atlantic bluefin tuna conservation for the Pew Environment Group, released the following statement in response to a request by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) for proposals to develop an electronic bluefin catch documentation system.
“ICCAT has taken another significant step toward improving the traceability of the valuable and overfished Atlantic bluefin tuna. In November, member governments committed to developing a pilot program for electronic catch documentation in time for the 2012 fishing season. This system can help protect the future of this species, and this announcement indicates the project is on schedule to become a reality.
“It is critical that ICCAT addresses the fraud, underreporting, and illegal fishing taking place in the Mediterranean. Pew's recent Mind the Gap report showed that a dramatic discrepancy exists between the amount of bluefin traded on the international market and the official catch limit. By swiftly implementing a state-of-the-art tracking system for this valuable fish, member governments will be better equipped to directly tackle illegal and unreported fishing.”