International Seafood Sustainability Foundation
23 January 2012
A STATEMENT OF CONCERN REGARDING MEDITERRANEAN ALBACORE
The Mediterranean stock of albacore tuna produces about 4,000 tonnes annually, which is small compared to all other major commercial tuna populations. Nevertheless, the stock needs to be managed properly, regardless of its relative commercial importance.
In 2010, ISSF adopted a Resolution calling upon the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) to conduct an assessment on this stock, as it had not been previously assessed. Further, the ISSF Resolution required processors and traders to refrain from transactions in Mediterranean albacore if the stock is overfished and if ICCAT fails to adopt adequate conservation measures. In October 2011, the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) of ICCAT assessed the status of the stock. Due to major data uncertainties, the SCRS was unable to ascertain whether or not the stock is overfished and found that overfishing is probably not taking place. The SCRS recommended that ICCAT adopt measures designed to limit future increases in catch and fishing effort directed at Mediterranean albacore. At its annual meeting in 2011, ICCAT did not discuss any management measures for the stock.
ISSF is concerned that Mediterranean albacore is not being adequately monitored and managed. ISSF, therefore, urges ICCAT and all major fishing countries for this stock to limit fishing effort to current levels, or less, and to immediately improve the collection and reporting of fishery statistics for this stock.