STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
INTERNATIONAL ecologists Greenpeace congratulated the regional ministry for the Environment yesterday for wanting to create a bluefin tuna sanctuary in Balearic waters to protect spawning grounds.

On the 27th of last month, the ministry said that it would urge Central Government to create a 50'000 square metre sanctuary in waters south of the Balearics to promote the conservation of bluefin tuna and other species.

Greenpeace pointed out that the boundaries of the sanctuary had been earmarked based on sound scientific evidence on the diversity of marine life there. Greenpeace also said that along with the World Wildlife Fund, they had been calling for the move for two years.

The ecologists claim that bluefin tuna is a species currently under threat of extinction due to its overexploitation for sale in the Asian market. Scientific assessment, it says, suggests that in order for stocks to recover by 50 percent by 2023, fishing catches should be limited to 8'000 tonnes a year. But at the last meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) a limit of 13'500 tonnes had been agreed.

Greenpeace said that current ruling obliges the European Union member states to set up marine protection zones not just to ensure the survival of spawning grounds but also to prevent further damage being inflicted to delicate ecosystems by trawling practices.

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