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The Council of the EU formally approves updated fisheries management, conservation and control measures in the ICCAT convention area

Today, the Council of the European Union has officially adopted a regulation incorporating specific fisheries management, conservation, and control measures within the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) convention area into EU law.

This regulation also brings changes to the multiannual management plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

The fisheries sector is crucial for the sustainability of seas and oceans, contributing significantly to food security and industry profitability. The newly adopted rules aim to integrate crucial decisions made in international fora into EU law.

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Hilde Crevits, the Belgian Flemish Minister for Welfare, Public Health, and the Family, who is also responsible for Fisheries, emphasized the importance of these rules for the European Union.

The adopted regulation translates recommendations adopted by ICCAT over the past years into EU law. These recommendations involve amendments to regulations (EU) 2017/2107 and (EU) 2023/2053.


Some of the newly updated rules concern:
  • definitions of support vessels, fish aggregating devices (FADs), floating objects and operational buoy
  • in the case of tropical tuna: capacity limitations and the prohibition of discards by purse seiners (except for certain circumstances); this means that by 31 January of each year, member states will have to prepare annual fishing plans and annual fishing capacity management plans for tropical tuna; additionally, every three months, member states will have to communicate to the Commission information on the quantity of tropical tunas (by species) caught by vessels carrying their flag
  • in the case of bluefin tuna: updated provisions on the carry-over of non-harvested live bluefin tuna from previous years’ catches, recreational fisheries quota provisions; updated rules for the preparation of an annual monitoring, control and inspection plan; prohibition of the automatic carry-over of any unused quota
  • authorisation and reporting: member states shall issue fishing authorisations to large-scale catching vessels flying their flag to fish North and Southern Atlantic albacore; moreover, South Atlantic albacore catches must be reported to ICCAT by member states
  • recreational fisheries provisions for Mediterranean albacore
  • provisions for the safe handling and recommended release practices for sea turtles and shortfin mako sharks
  • data collection and reporting to ICCAT in the case of certain catches, to help assess the situation of stocks
  • updated rules for the use and operational handling of vessels monitoring systems
  • provisions on improving health and safety rules for ICCAT observers for transhipment at sea


Next Steps:

The adoption procedure concludes with today’s vote by the Council. The regulation will be signed by the Council and the European Parliament, then published in the EU’s Official Journal. It will become effective 20 days after publication.



ICCAT facilitates regional cooperation on the conservation and management of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. The European Union has been a contracting party since 1997. ICCAT recommendations are binding for contracting parties, becoming effective six months after notification.

The Commission proposed implementing ICCAT recommendations into EU law on April 21, 2022, with Clara Aguilera (S&D, ES) as the European Parliament’s rapporteur for this file.


Source: Press Release

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