The eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna was long a symbol of overfishing and fisheries
mismanagement. Over the past decade, the stock has recovered, following the rebuilding measures introduced by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a highly migratory pelagic fish of impressive size (up to 3.3 m and 725 kg), with a lifespan of around 40 years. For management purposes, two stocks are considered (eastern and western), conventionally separated by the 45°W meridian. The eastern bluefin tuna stock, much larger than the western one, covers a wide distribution area in the East Atlantic and the Med Sea. It migrates every year over long distances between its spawning sites in the Med Sea and its feeding grounds located in the eastern Atlantic, from the Norwegian Sea to West Africa.
The eastern bluefin migration has supported valuable fisheries in the Mediterranean since antiquity. Initially based on hand lines and beach seines, these fisheries were dominated after the 16th century by tuna cages placed in the path of migrating tuna. After the expansion of purse seines and longlines in the Atlantic (in the 1950s) and in the Mediterranean (in the 1970s), the importance of tuna fishing has gradually decreased. The main EU fishing countries are Spain, France and Italy, and to a lesser extent, Croatia, Portugal, Malta, Greece and Cyprus.
And an interesting fishing vessel involved in this year season is the 2015 built MY HENDRIKA. She entered Grand Harbour, Malta last Friday 21st April around 1838 hrs coming from Limassol, Cyprus.
She’s 22.25 metre long with radio call sign as C4JJ with fishing matricola as CYP 799.
Her ICCAT registry permit is – ATEU0CYP00047 and she left Grand Harbour, Malta today Monday 22nd May, 2023 at 0959 hrs bound to tow a cage and then to fishing grounds.