The high price and demand for bluefin tuna destined for sashimi markets, particularly in Japan, combined with the ability to rapidly increase the fat content of live fish in cages, result in very high demand for wild caught bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic. Significant concern about the future of the fishery and the bluefin tuna resource resulted in ICCAT adopting a number of management measures to improve the regulation of the fishery. In 2008, Recommendation 08-05[1], set out a number of measures, including the ICCAT Bluefin Tuna Regional Observer Programme (BFT-ROP) for first implementation in 2009.

The BFT-ROP stipulates 100% observer coverage on all purse seine vessels greater than 24m and all joint fishing operations during the entire fishing season, and at all farms during transfers and harvests. In the period up to the start of the 2010 fishing season in April 2010 BFT-ROP had been implemented on farms only[2]. During this period, observer coverage of purse seiners was achieved through domestic programmes.


[1]Recommendation amending the Recommendation by ICCAT to establish a Multiannual Recovery Plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean

[2] In the event, many ICCAT Members opted to continue with existing domestic observer programmes on their farms in 2009, with only Turkey and Croatia having had coverage under the BFT-ROP at the time of writing.

Name of Client


Project Dates



Turkey, Croatia