Malta is resisting a further reduction in the tuna catches quota proposed by the EU for next year’s tuna season.

It is insisting that there is clear scientific evidence that tuna stocks are recovering.

Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino told his colleagues during an EU Fisheries Council in Luxembourg that “further cuts at this stage are not justified”. He appealed to the European Commission to review its stand.

Malta’s position is being backed by all other EU member states whose fishermen catch bluefin tuna, including Spain, Italy, France and Greece.

The UK and Germany appear to agree with the Commission’s position to impose further cuts.

Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki is calling for substantial cuts in 2011 in order to save bluefin tuna stocks from extinction.

The issue is now expected to be tackled again by EU ambassadors before the final stand is adopted by the EU in view of global negotiations to be held in Paris next month on the 2011 quotas during a meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT).