Following meetings with Oceana, the Carrefour chain of hypermarkets has announced that they stopped selling bluefin tuna captured in the Mediterranean Sea from 1 August, in order to avoid the collapse of this fishery in the Mediterranean. The Carrefour Group is the first food distribution group in Spain to adopt precautionary measures geared towards promoting the responsible consumption of fishery products.
According to Xavier Pastor, director of Oceana in Europa, “Carrefour’s decision is proof that it's not too late to save the bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. In order to pressure those who do not comply with their obligations, the participation of companies and the civil society will be a key factor”, affirms Pastor, who encourages other companies to follow in Carrefour’s footsteps.
Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean is overexploited and may soon be in a critical situation if urgent measures are not adopted. In spite of the demands made by the scientists from the International Commission for the Conservation of the Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) to reduce captures of this species to 15,000 tonnes annually, Atlantic and Mediterranean fishing countries, and even Asian fleets that capture this species, have decided to allot themselves almost double the quota, close to 29,500 tonnes.
Not happy with this, some Mediterranean countries are using illegal drift nets to capture this type of tuna, exceeding the quotas during recent years. Other countries, such as Libya, have recently decided to withdraw their objection to the Recovery Plan for the species agreed on at ICCAT, but without reducing their catch.
Furthermore, the European Union has approved a Recovery Plan for bluefin tuna in which no reference is made to the reduction in catch recommended by the Scientific Committee. EC member states plan on capturing almost 17,000 tonnes this year; in other words, they will exceed the quota recommended by the scientists. The remaining fishing countries will capture another 13,000 tonnes.
Although official figures point to approximately 25,000 tonnes of bluefin tuna captured annually in the Mediterranean in recent years, scientists believe the real volume of the catch is closer to 42,000 tonnes, which means that approximately 35% of the tuna captured in this sea is not declared.
“The reason we have made this decision –assures Mariano Rodríguez, Director of Quality and Sustainable Development for Carrefour, is to offer consumers the best products without putting certain species like the Mediterranean bluefin tuna in danger of collapse”.