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A multination fisheries body on Monday raised the quotas for endangered bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea to the dismay of conservationists, who said the move puts early signs of population recovery at risk. Next year's quota for bluefin tuna off the United States, Canada and Mexico was raised by 14 percent to 2,000 metric tons by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas at the end of an eight-day meeting in the Italian port city of Genoa. It raised the quota for the larger population of Mediterranean bluefin tuna by 20 percent to 15,821 metric tons next year, with additional 20 percent increases each of the following two years.
The fisheries body's scientific committee said "gradual and moderate" increases in the catch would not jeopardize the stock health. But the Pew Charitable Trusts said the western bluefin tuna population off the U.S., Canadian and Mexican coasts "remains severely depleted," 15 years into a 20-year rebuild, and that scientific assessments indicate the increased catches could reverse the recovery trend. The World Wildlife Foundation called on fishers, traders, retailers and consumers "to take greater responsibility" to ensure bluefin tuna recovery.
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