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High hopes as new tuna season starts

Bluefin tuna stocks recovering in Mediterranean, and fish can fetch up to €1,000 a kilo in Japan

FISHERMEN in the south of France are hoping to cash in on recovering bluefin tuna stocks in the Mediterranean during the short fishing season.

With prices for bluefin reaching as high as €1,000 a kilo for per kilo for upscale sushi in Japan, the 30-day fishing season is likely to be highly lucrative.

"Quotas have been divided by four, but as the price of tuna has multiplied by three it remains viable," fisherman Jean-Marie Avalone told France Info before heading out to sea.

Seventeen fishing trawlers left Sète, on the Hérault coast for the start of the season on Monday.

They are part of an eight-nation EU fleet that can fish for bluefin tuna, which is known in France as thon rouge.

The other nations are Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and - for the first time - Croatia.

They have until June 24 to catch their quota bluefin tuna, using large nets known as purse-seine - but hopes are high they won’t need to be out that long.

Earlier this year, fisherman in the Canaries caught their quota of Atlantic bluefin tuna in 36 hours, as evidence suggests that tough restrictions on fishing that have been in place since 2006 are working and fish stocks are recovering.

In total, they will be able to land 7,939 tons of fish. France shares the greatest portion of the quota with Spain.

Photo: Rivagz

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