Europeche, the trade body representing 45,000 EU-based fisherman, has filed a request with the European Commission to open an antidumping investigation into imports of processed tuna loins - mainly skipjack - originating in China.

Fishermen say the imports are causing serious economic damage to the European fishing industry.

Europeche said information it has passed to the European authorities reveals the existence of unlawful aid and tax breaks allegedly granted by the Chinese administration to exporters of both tuna loins and canned tuna.

The European fishing sector is urging EU officials to eliminate any present and future tariff exemption granted to tuna loins, which mainly come from China, to mitigate further market and economic disruption.