Bluefin tuna quota approved, activists relieved

A Halifax-based environmental group says it is pleased an international commission has approved keeping the existing quota for western Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Fishermen want to catch more of the lucrative fish

A sushi chef picks a fillet of red tuna, or "akami," next to fillets of high-quality fatty Atlantic bluefin tuna at a Sushi-Zanmai sushi restaurant in Tokyo, Japan. Scientists said there is little clear science on the health of the stock and that countries should hold off raising the quota until more is known about the abundance of the immense fish, which are highly sought for sushi. (The Associated Press)

A Halifax-based environmental group says it is pleased an international commission has approved keeping the existing quota for western Atlantic bluefin tuna.

The Ecology Action Centre had said it feared Ottawa might ask for an increase in the catch, despite the species being under consideration for inclusion on Canada's Species at Risk Act.

But centre spokeswoman Kathryn Schleit said the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas has decided during a meeting in South Africa to keep the quota at its current level of 1,750 tonnes or less for the next year.

She is attending the Cape Town meeting as an observer.

Schleit said she is concerned the commission didn't agree to bring in measures requiring fishing vessels to release porbeagle sharks they catch by accident.

No one from the federal Fisheries Department was immediately available for comment.

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