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Monaco Sea Fishing Federation: Protecting the Bluefin Tuna

Restoring prestige to fishing in the Principality and on its coastline is the goal of the Monaco Sea Fishing Federation. In March 2017, Guillaume Benoit and David Gamba took over the reins of the Federation, which had remained dormant since 1991. The Federation now includes an environmental and ethical agenda.

The Sea Fishing Federation has passionate members who have been practicing recreational and sports fishing for several years. Guillaume Benoit, Vice-President of the Federation, took time to think about how to make the Federation ethical, while keeping the passion about fishing alive.  The Federation now includes a communal cause: the protection of threatened species in the Mediterranean, like the bluefin tuna.

The Federation practices catch and release, with special materials to prevent the fish from being injured in the process. The Federation hopes to help with the collection of data on the bluefin tuna population in the Mediterranean with this technique.  It’s a project supported by the WWF and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

David Gamba, President of the Sea Fishing Federation, said that the Mediterranean has a nursery zone, or a reproduction zone for the bluefin tuna, which has sparked questions like: What are the Bluefin’s population numbers? What is its seasonality, is the species present all year round, or does it migrate? According to the Federation’s recent studies, it seems as though there is one population which is internal and remains in the Mediterranean and another one which is very migratory.

A new tagging program, using two distinct types of tags, hopes to further investigate the bluefin tuna. The first tag uses satellite technology and the other type of tag, which is a lot easier to put in place, is what the Federation call spaghetti tags, which can be put in place by boaters who capture and recapture the fish.

The Federation has twenty members and will launch a training session for volunteers who wish to participate in the operation. The first tags will be put in place in March.

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