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An international meeting of 48 countries forming the global Atlantic bluefin tuna industry has agreed to a small reduction in the number fish that can legally be harvested next year.

Members of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) that gathered in Paris to negotiate next year's fishing quotas settled on a 4-per-cent cut, which means 12,900 tons of the endangered bluefins can be pulled from the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean next year. That's down from 13,500 harvested in 2010, although the number could be much higher in reality due to illegal fishing and a booming black market.

Environmental groups were disappointed with the number. Many are lobbying for temporary bans on bluefin harvesting because the giant fish is flirting with extinction.

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Faith Scattolon, the head of Canada's delegation, said she is pleased with the outcome of the meetings. The quotas set, she said, are within the range recommended by the commission's scientists.

France is the country most affected by the reductions. The penalty for exceeding its national quota in recent years is a reduction to 600 allowable tons from 2,000.

Canada, which has rights to about one quarter of the bluefins harvested in the eastern Atlantic, will have an 11 ton reduction.

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Global food reporter

Jessica Leeder is the Globe’s Atlantic Reporter, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In previous roles, Jessica has reported for the Globe from Afghanistan and post-quake Haiti, assignments for which she won an Emmy and a National Newspaper Award, respectively. She has also written about the politics of global food, entrepreneurialism and small business, and automotive news. More

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