E.U. ending bluefin tuna season early amid overfishing concerns
The European Union is ending its bluefin tuna fishing season early this year due to concerns that fishers are already nearing their quotas for the popular, lucrative fish. Bluefin tuna are prized for their succulence in sushi, and demand remains strong. Market prices for bluefin in Japan have nearly tripled since last year. However, next week, commercial bluefin season will come to a close for net fishers from Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, and Malta; Spanish fishers were granted an extra week of plunder. May and June are the most productive months for bluefin catchers; commercial fleets often haul in over 500 tons a day. Environmental groups applauded the bluefin season’s early closure, but stressed that much more is needed to save the bluefin. “WWF believes this out-of-control fishery should never have been allowed to open this year at all,” said the group’s European fishing expert. “Overfishing and massive illegal catches threaten the survival of bluefin tuna.” Last year, the E.U. exceeded its bluefin quota by about 25 percent, despite a similar early closure.