Since the beginning of the bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) fishing season, Spanish vessels have caught the equivilent of 86 per cent (2170 tonnes) of their allocated quota.
Until 30 August, fleets of pole and line fishing vessels and longliners in the Strait of Gibraltar, had captured 232,150 kg and 65,116 kg respectively.
Recreational and small scale fishing added a further 20,424 kg, with Cantabrian live-bait vessels catching 164,276 kg of bluefin tuna.
For its part, trap vessels, which ended their campaign on 18 June 2010, captured a total of 887,375 kg and Mediterranean purse seiner vessels caught 803,560 kg.
During 2010, the Spanish quota for bluefin tuna amounted to 2,526 tonnes, almost 40 per cent less than the figure established for 2009 (4,116 tonnes).
This reduction in catch was agreed last year by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), which decided to reduce the share of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean from 22,000 tonnes to 13,500 tonnes, due to the critical status of biomass.
Meanwhile, a team of researchers from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), succeeded in transferring some 60 juvenile bluefin tuna born in captivity from their labs in San Pedro del Pinatar (Murcia), to multiple fattening cages located offshore in the Bay of el Gorguel (Cartagena).
The specimens were 50 days old and an average weight of around 20 grams, and were bred in facilities at the Oceanographic Centre in Murcia.
The successful transfer was defined by the IEO as “another step towards achieving the domestication of bluefin tuna.” The experts explained that although the mortality rate was high, the surviving specimens were well and ate normally.