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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

REM-BFT - Remote Electronic Monitoring on bluefin tuna processing vessels

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In 2022, the European Union funded a Pilot Project for the use of Remote Electronic Monitoring systems (REM) on processing vessels for bluefin tuna. This pilot project complements revised fisheries regulations developed within the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to combat illegal bluefin tuna markets in Europe.

The grant for the project was awarded to ICCAT and was funded under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF).  

Monitoring processing vessels as critical ‘checkpoints’ for illegal tuna fisheries

ICCAT allocates a significant part of the bluefin tuna quota to fishing vessels, which farm the bluefin tuna. When the fattening process is over, most fish are harvested and then transferred to the processing vessels, similarly to what happens with fish caught by tuna traps.

Therefore, processing vessels are a critical point in the chain from a control point of view. Effective control of these vessels is essential to prevent irregularities regarding the quantities handled by farms and traps.

Reinforcing control systems will promote the sustainability of bluefin tuna fisheries and enhance transparency in fisheries management, by providing accurate data on fishing activities, catch levels, and compliance with regulations.

This project contributes directly to the EU Common Fisheries Policy, since it helps to improve the control of an important fishery, which involves a significant number of countries in the Mediterranean Sea.

The project carries out new trials to improve current control practices in tuna fishery and helps strengthen scientific information on bluefin tuna produced by EU Member States.

The project outcomes could potentially serve as inspiration for discussions in ICCAT and other Regional Tuna Management Organisations.


The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is an inter-governmental fishery organisation responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas. This is the most strategic Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) for the Europe Union and many of its Member States.

The European Union is a key Party in ICCAT, as it is responsible for the highest catches among the parties. The grants (called “voluntary contributions”) that the European Union gives to Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, like ICCAT, play a major role to provide scientific advice and improve fisheries management in Europe.