EARLY END TO BLUEFIN TUNA FISHING SEASON.
On 30 May, the European Commission announced the early closing of the bluefin tuna purse seining season for France and Spain. The fishing campaign for these ships is normally open from 15 May to 15 June but the annual quotas allocated to both countries were exhausted on 29 May at 20:00, and both member states have decided to call back their vessels to port. The Commission stressed that it has cooperated closely with both member states since the beginning of the fishing campaign and welcome their decision to act swiftly and rapidly. The Commission specified that the six Spanish and the nine French purse seiners were operating together in joint fishing operations, which has lead to a more rapid exhaustion of their quota. According to the Commission, this is a clear indication that the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and EU rules are effective since no vessels can continue to remain at sea once the quota is exhausted. The Commission stated that, in close coordination with France and Spain as well as with other member states, it continues to monitor the other fishing activities on bluefin tuna, namely done by small scale fisheries and by traps.