An increase in the stock of tuna may lead to an increase in the quotas fishermen are allowed to catch of the fish species, with Malta firmly backing the proposal and arguing that it amounts to “justice for fishermen”.

The proposal was discussed at a meeting of the Council of European Ministers for Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg, where Malta was represented by a delegation led by Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries Aquaculture and Animal Welfare Alicia Bugeja Said.

Several topics were discussed during the meeting, including the research on the stock of bluefin tuna resulting from the scientific exercise of the Standing Committee for Research and Statistics (SCRS), within the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

From this research it has been estimated that there has been an improvement in the amounts of tuna stock. In this regard, Dr Bugeja Said recalled that Malta had stressed the need to complete this scientific exercise which is so important in order to take the necessary decisions.

She added that Malta is satisfied that tuna conservation efforts over the past years have been successful and have led to this result.

During the discussion it was also stressed that this scientific advice stemming from this research should be respected. A proposal has therefore been tabled calling on the Council to approve the SCRS proposals within ICCAT, which lead to a significant increase in the quota of bluefin tuna caught.

The Parliamentary Secretary reiterated that Malta supports this proposal because it is justice for those fishermen who have made so many sacrifices, both economic and social, over the past years.

In her conclusion, Dr Bugeja Said also called for the situation among all countries fishing for this same species to be harmonised. This is to ensure that the smallest countries in the European Union have an equitable quota ratio, without threatening the future stability of fishermen.

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