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. Tuna fishing quota violators targeted in report

by Staff Writers
Marseille, France (AFP) Oct 31, 2007
Italy, France, Japan and Spain are guilty of the biggest violations of international quotas for bluefin tuna fishing, a report claimed on Wednesday.

Countries are assigned fishing quotas by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to help avert the eventual extinction of the fish, which is highly prized for Japanese sushi and sashimi.

Italy fished 7,500 tonnes more than allowed in 2006, followed by France with 3,770 more and Japan with 3,550 tonnes, said the report, titled "The Plunder of the BlueFin Tuna in the Mediterranean Sea."

In 2007, Italy, Spain and France were the biggest offenders.

The 708-page study was compiled by Roberto Mielgo Bregazzi, a consultant who has previously carried out research for the WWF. He cited official data and information from industry insiders.

"Given the unsustainable rates of capture, both legal and illegal, the species will disappear," warned the report.

In September, the European Commission banned fishing of bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean for the rest of the year because quotas for 2007 had already been met.

ICCAT has no way of enforcing its quotas and relies on the goodwill of member countries.

The report said Italy, Spain and Libya were the countries that had most under-reported their catches to ICCAT in 2007.

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