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EU reduces Cyprus’ bluefin tuna quotas

CYPRIOT-flagged trawlers will be able to fish less bluefin tuna this year, after the European Commission reduced the threshold because the island had exceeded quotas last year.

The European Commission announced reductions in quotas this year for member states that had exceeded their quotas in 2012.

Cyprus was given a quota of around 1.4 tonnes less of bluefin tuna, bringing its 2013 quota of a bit over 69 tonnes.

The trend to overfish slowed down this year compared to the previous year, said Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Damanaki said focusing on enforcing fish quota provisions was “crucial to stopping overfishing and achieving the long-term sustainability of our stocks”.

Parliament recently banned the use of dragnet fishing in Cypriot waters to protect marine life as well as fishermen’s income, most of whom use smaller, traditional nets, fishing mostly for whitebait.

The countries most impacted by the European Commission’s quotas include Spain, Great Britain, Ireland, Poland, and Portugal who have each faced reductions amounting up to hundreds of tonnes of various fish. Portugal in particular was told its quotas would be reduced by about 383 tonnes for haddock, 223 tonnes for saithe, and 311 tonnes for redfish.

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