Trade-Based Estimation of Bluefin Tuna Catches in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, 2005–2011

A. Gagern, J.C.J.M. van den Bergh, U.R. Sumaila

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stock of Bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus (BFTE) has long been considered overfished and at risk of collapse. Although ICCAT quotas for this stock have decreased considerably over the past years, uncertainty exists about the degree of catch beyond this quota. The extent of such catch is an important piece of information in stock assessment models as well as being an indicator of the effectiveness of fisheries management. We present a model using Bluefin tuna trade data to infer actual catches. Basing our calculations on 25 countries involved in BFTE trade, we estimate that between 2005 and 2011, allowable quotas were exceeded by 44 percent. This gap between catch and quotas has slightly increased over past years, leading to estimated excess catches of 57 percent for the period between 2008 and 2011. To improve assessments, preparation and design of BFTE management, we suggest that the estimated total removals reported in this paper be included in stock assessment models for BFTE. An implication of our findings is that ICCAT member states should take stronger measures to monitor and enforce compliance with quotas. © 2013 Gagern et al.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere69959
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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