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Spain's fishing industry disputes 'apocalyptic messages' on tuna stocks
July 20, 2011, 04:50 AM

(seafood.com)  Spanish fishing



The five species are:

Southern bluefin tuna: critically endangered

Atlantic bluefin tuna: endangered

Bigeye tuna: vulnerable

Yellowfin tuna: almost threatened

Bonito: almost threatened

The fishing industry was quick to dispute the IUCN's claims. Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) secretary-general Javier Garat lamented the "apocalyptic messages" on the state of fish stocks and in particular the five species of tuna. Garat accused the group of generalising about the status of individual species without addressing the specific situation in each area: the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic and Indian oceans, according to the EFE news agency. Juan Manuel Vieites, the secretary-general of the National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (Anfaco-Cecopesca), said consumers can “have a complete guarantee” that Spanish cans are prepared with sustainably caught fishing resources.

The IUCN study, published in the latest edition of Science, warns that the most threatened species have higher economic value. According to Maria José Juan Jordá, the study's co-author, the situation is "worrying" for the five tuna species mentioned. Jordá believes that the solution is not to close the endangered species fishing season, which would have serious economic consequences, but to reduce the size of the tuna-fishing fleet and the fishing season, Publico.es reported. “One of the major problems is the fleet overcapacity. All vessels expect to have their fishing quota but the resources are limited,” Jordá said.

However, Kent Carpenter, head of the IUCN's Marine Biodiversity Unit, warned: "If changes are not realised in the current fishing practices, the reserves of the western Atlantic bluefin tuna run the risk of collapsing.”

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