Countries are expected to agree to raise the bluefin tuna catch quota in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean for 2014 when they meet later this month, sources said.
A decision to raise the quota slightly is likely at this year’s annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) because of a recovery in stock, the sources noted.
The meeting of the Madrid-based commission is set for Nov. 18-25 in South Africa.
A recommendation issued by the ICCAT’s scientific committee last month would allow for a minor increase in the quota, a Japanese fishing industry official said.
The committee is responsible for giving the full commission advice from a scientific viewpoint.
The catch quota is expected to continue rising in the years to come at a time when fishing regulations in the Pacific are set to be strengthened starting next year due to diminishing stock.
This year’s quota was raised by 500 tons from the previous year to 13,400 tons, the first increase in 10 years. For 2014, a further increase to 14,000 tons or more is likely.
Some nations are seeking to keep the quota unchanged to ensure a recovery in stock but many members, especially Mediterranean countries, want an increase, the sources said.
In 2012, the scientific committee confirmed an uptick in Atlantic bluefin tuna stock, which was once in danger of extinction. The ICCAT hopes to fully restore stock levels by 2022.