COUNTRIES involved in the Mediterranean bluefin tuna trade have voted to maintain catches nearly 50% above what scientists say are safe levels angering environmental groups which have been campaigning to protect the fish from extinction.
The Mediterranean is one of the areas where bluefin tuna is most at risk from over fishing by legal and illegal international fishing fleets and last night Greenpeace slammed the Spanish government for having buckled under pressure from the tuna industry.
Environment groups labelled the move, by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (Iccat), as a mockery of science.
They put most blame on the EU which, they said, used trade issues to bully smaller nations into giving support.
Earlier this year Spain and Japan had called for a suspension of the fishery. Iccat's scientists had said next year's total allowable catch (Tac) should not exceed 15'000 tonnes; but on the final day of its annual meeting, Iccat members set a figure of 22'000 tonnes.