In 1966, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) was formed, taking responsibility for the conservation of tunas in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas (5). Since 1998, catch limits have been in place for the northern bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, but until 2006, it was believed that these limits were not respected and were largely ineffective (5). In 2006, ICCAT adopted a 15 year recovery plan for the highly threatened stocks of the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. The plan includes stricter catch limits and more extensive closures of fisheries in certain areas and at certain times (5). As the northern bluefin tuna is such a slow-growing and long-lived species, it will take years, possibly over ten, before any benefits of these measures are observed (5). Hopefully this recovery plan will have some success, and prevent the eastern Atlantic stock falling into the same dire situation as the western Atlantic stock. Unless catches of this stock are reduced to near zero, the extinction of this large, economically valuable fish in the western Atlantic seems sadly inevitable (6).
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