Spain has achieved a 10% increase in the bluefin tuna quota for 2023, which is set at 6,784 tons according to the latest ICCAT agreement

Spain has achieved a 10% increase in the bluefin tuna quota for 2023, which is set at 6,784 tons according to the latest ICCAT agreement

Spain achieves a 10% increase in the bluefin tuna quota for 2023, which is set at 6,784 tonnes

The Spanish fishing fleet will have a quota of 6,784 tonnes of bluefin tuna catch for the year 2023, which represents an increase of 10% compared to 2022, according to the agreement reached at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of the Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) held between November 14 and 21 in Vila do Lobo (Portugal), in which the recovery of the reserves of this species has been confirmed. 

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As a consequence of this good situation of bluefin tuna, ICCAT has adopted a management process with a mechanism that is based on a 3-year cycle, with a 60% probability that the state of the stock will be maintained. Overall, the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is increased from 36,000 tonnes in 2022 to 40,570 tonnes by 2023. The European Union has 21,503 tons, 2,043 more than that arranged this year.

Based on the distribution criteria of the European Union, the increase for Spain is 691 tonnes, pending the final adjustment in the TAC and Quotas. This increase responds to the demands of the sector after the recovery of the species as a result of the management plans undertaken in recent years.


Bigeye and tropical tunas

The ICCAT committee has decided to maintain the current regulation and TAC for bigeye tuna and tropical tuna in 2023, although the scientific committee has confirmed that it is slightly recovering from a situation of overexploitation. Thus, the allocation of quotas and the current measures to reduce juvenile mortality are maintained, such as a 72-day ban on fishing on fish concentration devices and a maximum number of assets per vessel of 300.

An inter-sessional meeting of Panel 1 is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2023 to develop a TAC allocation mechanism, paying particular attention to the interests of developing coastal states, and to review other relevant measures for the conservation and management of tropical tunas. The conclusions will be submitted to the next ICCAT annual meeting where an agreement must be adopted.

Spain will continue working on this process so that in this new mechanism the specificities of the bigeye tuna fishery in the Canary Islands are recognized and so that the closure period is reduced, guaranteeing the sustainability of the European Union purse seine fleet.


Southern Shortfin Mako shark

In response to the situation of overexploitation of the shortfin mako in the South Atlantic, the European Union presented a proposal to put an end to overfishing and allow the recovery of the stock through a retention ban, with the same regulations that currently exist for the northern stock.

Zero withholding could not be agreed with the group of African countries, so catch limits have been established for all parties, based on the average of those made by each of them between 2012 and 2021. Said Limits range from 40% for those who have made the greatest number of catches, and 60% for those who have made the least.

With this measure, a drastic reduction in catches is achieved to allow the recovery of the stock, something that highlights the role of ICCAT in the management and conservation of the species that it regulates in its scope of application and confirms that the regional fishing organizations fulfil their commitment to preserve the sustainability of the marine environment.



At the ICCAT meeting, a measure has been approved to reduce the by-catch rates of sea turtles in association with tuna fisheries and related species such as swordfish. This measure seeks to increase post-release survival of threatened and endangered sea turtle populations within the ICCAT area.

This new measure is yet another example of the commitment of regional fishing organizations to work for the conservation of the marine environment, aware that there are multiple threats at sea and on land, and that a holistic approach is necessary.

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Spain achieves a 10% increase in the bluefin tuna quota for 2023

by editor time to read: 7 min