CONSERVATIVE MEP FOR SCOTLAND

Letter to Commissioner Vella - Tuna in British Waters

My Letter to Commissioner Vella on Tuna in British Waters

16.02.2016.

Dear Commissioner Vella,

You will be aware of the outcome of the recent UN Climate Change talks in Paris, where agreement was reached to arrest global warming at a temperature well below 2oC. As a European Parliamentary delegate to the gathering I was involved in several discussions regarding the impact of global temperature rise on the seas and oceans.  There was general agreement that the first global-warming migrants, will not be land based animals but rather ocean dwelling species.

Scientists are conservatively estimating that the sea temperatures around Europe will rise by 1.8oC in the next 50 years . I draw this to your attention because this will have significant implications for how fisheries are managed in the future.

One specific example requires action now. Over the last few years bluefin tuna have been appearing with greater frequency in the waters around the UK.  In July 2015, a shoal of 500 bluefin tuna was sighted in the English Channel. When the relative stability key was set in 1983 British fishermen did not catch tuna in the waters around the UK because there was no tuna to be caught.

According to scientists, the appearance of tuna around the UK is due to global warming . This stock constitutes therefore a new fishery. A single Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Bluefin tuna is currently set for the entire Eastern Atlantic, East of Longitude 45° W. British fishermen deserve a share of this new fishery.

When the migratory patterns of mackerel changed and the fish began to appear in greater abundance in the waters of Iceland and Faroe, the Commission agreed to a reallocation of quota (need I remind you, against the wishes of Scottish fishermen). Such an approach is required today to ensure that British fishermen are treated fairly.

I would be happy to bring a delegation of British fishermen to meet with you when we can discuss this matter in greater detail.

Yours sincerely,

Ian