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Atlantic Bluefin Poaching Widespread in Europe

William Deyesso

William Deyesso is a Massachusetts entrepreneur who provides client-driven solutions as CEO of Royal Administration Services, Inc. An avid fisherman, William Deyesso has a strong commitment to coastal conservation and the preservation of threatened marine ecosystems.

A recent article from The Pew Charitable Trusts, which spearheads global tuna conservation efforts, drew attention to just how pervasive poaching is, even in European markets. A recent smuggling operation was dismantled by Europol that involved an illegal catch of 2,800 tons of Atlantic bluefin annually. This amount exceeds the western Atlantic fishery’s total catch limit and is much higher than applicable quotas.

This situation is reminiscent of the early 2000s when illegal poaching brought tuna to such a low level that an international trade ban was instituted. The new illegal activity also comes despite a new system of electronic bluefin catch documentation, which is designed to ensure that each tuna landed is fully documented along each step of the supply chain.
The discovery of widespread poaching, linked to an increase in Spanish food poisoning cases, suggests that surveillance and monitoring efforts still have much more work ahead. Tuna population restoration is spearheaded by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.

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