The European Commission may substantially slash its fishing quota for bluefin tuna next year to ensure the long-term sustainability of the endangered fish, a spokesman said.

The European Union’s executive arm is working on proposals for the next meeting of International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) between November 17 and 27 in Paris, spokesman Oliver Drewes told AFP.

The proposals will be based on science, he said.

During a meeting with European parliament lawmakers in Strasbourg, European fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki said “a substantial reduction” of catches “would be the way to go, to ensure a good possibility of having a viable stock until 2020 and a long-term sustainability of it,” the spokesman said.

Environmental group WWF welcomed the commissioner’s announcement and urged Brussels to make it a centerpiece of the European’s position at the ICCAT meeting.

Scientists believe the size of the stock of bluefin tuna is only one-third of sustainable levels, WWF said.

WWF has called for a quota of less than 6,000 tonnes per year. The total allowable catches for 2010 was 13,500 tonnes.