Even though ICCAT sets catch quotas far higher than the recommendations of its own scientific advisory board, poaching and smuggling are still rampant. In 2007, for instance, ICCAT had set the quota for the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean at 29,500 metric tons of bluefin, even though scientists had recommended that ICCAT shut down the Mediterranean fisheries for two months during spawning season and limit total catch to less than 15,000 metric tons. Fishermen caught an estimated 61,000 tons, most of it in the Mediterranean spawning grounds. Says Safina, “It’s an all-out war on the fish at the moment.”
This article was originally published with the title The Deadliest Catch.