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#News • 15 February 2022

Mediterranean bluefin tuna is an example of the sustainability plan’s success

Balfegó, boasting an environmental sustainability certificate, has always led by example, proposing innovative control measures and acting as the world’s spokesperson on how North Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishing should be managed.

Good news for chefs and diners: the measures established by ICCAT to preserve bluefin tuna have been successful.

At Balfegó, we are celebrating our dedication to bluefin tuna sustainability which has led us, together with large institutions, to implement different measures that guarantee the wellbeing of the species and its preservation for future generations. It’s clear that the key to recovery is in the application of these measures, which we are celebrating at Balfegó, world leaders in the fresh marketing of Mediterranean bluefin tuna. 



The Red List of Endangered Species’s update confirms that Mediterranean bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) has moved to a status of ‘in recovery’, unlike Thunnus maccoyii which remains ‘endangered’, and Thunnus orientalis ‘near endangered’.

Thunnus thynnus: Mediterranean bluefin tuna vs. Gulf of Mexico’s bluefin tuna


It’s important to differentiate the Mediterranean’s bluefin tuna, which has completely recovered, from the species native to the Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic bluefin tuna), which, unfortunately, has decreased more than 50% in the last decade and is in a fragile situation.

The origin of and way to fish this Thunnus thynnus species makes the difference when it comes to choosing a sustainable fish to include in our responsible gastronomy proposal; the only way to learn and guarantee the origin of this raw material is to track the product.


ICCAT, key to the success of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna sustainability plan

Currently, bluefin tuna fishing is the most studied, controlled, and regulated fishing in the world under any scientific standard. The scarcity problem of bluefin tuna lies within the  increasing market demand and, therefore, the increase in catches. In the 90s, catches reached 50,000 tons annually. Eventually, the species was considered to be close to a point of collapse and that’s why, at the end of the 20th century, protection measures began to come into effect.

Because of this, ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna), was created, the regional fishing organization under the UN and FAO that manages fishing. Its management policies are based on periodic reports on the state of fishing, issued by the Scientific Committee (SCRS). 

ICCAT establishes fishing quotas for tuna fishing countries and therefore ensures that the stock of Western and central bluefin tuna is not depleted. At Balfegó, one of our values is the responsibility that goes far beyond regulations. That’s why we’ve surpassed the regulations established by ICCAT,  proposing a lot of the adopted measures and dedicating many resources to studying the species. In fact, we were the first to show the process of bluefin tuna reproduction in the documentary ULTIMATUN.

The main measure that ICCAT took was to drastically reduce the fishing quotas to 12,500,000 tons, implementing parallel control systems to reduce poaching. Another crucial measure was to prohibit the fishing of bluefin tuna that had not yet reached a reproductive age, raising the minimum size to 30 kilos (they are considered to reach a reproductive age at 4). One of Balefegó’s innovative measures is capturing only 150kg bluefin tuna, allowing for six years of reproduction.

Balfegó’s tracking system for bluefin tuna, a first in the world


When talking about providing value and investigating good practices for the good of the species, we try to go one step further. Recently, we developed our own tracking system, which complements or improves upon what ICCAT has demanded. It’s a first for the fishing world.