UN rejects Atlantic bluefin tuna ban

Wildlife News

Last Updated: Thursday, March 18, 2010 | 3:41 PM ET

The Associated Press

Source: CBC.ca

A U.S.-backed proposal to ban the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna prized in sushi was rejected Thursday by a UN wildlife meeting, with scores of developing nations joining Japan in opposing a measure they feared would devastate fishing economies.


It was a stunning setback for conservationists who had hoped the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, would give the iconic fish a lifeline. They joined the proposal's sponsor Monaco in arguing that extreme measures were necessary because the stocks have fallen by 75 per cent due to widespread overfishing.

"Let's take science and throw it out the door," said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy with the Pew Environment Group in Washington. "It's pretty irresponsible of the governments to hear the science and ignore the science. Clearly, there was pressure from the fishing interests. The fish is too valuable for its own good."


As the debate opened, Monaco painted a dire picture for a once-abundant species that roams across vast stretched of the Atlantic Ocean and can grow to as big as 680 kilograms.

It has been done in by the growing demand for raw tuna for traditional dishes such as sushi and sashimi. The bluefin variety — called "hon-maguro" in Japan — is particularly prized. A 200-kilogram Pacific bluefin tuna fetched a record 20.2 million yen ($226,000 Cdn) last year.

"This exploitation is no longer exploitation by traditional fishing people to meet regional needs," Monaco's Patrick Van Klaveren told delegates. "Industrial fishing of species is having a severe effect on numbers of this species and its capacity to recover. We are facing a real ecosystem collapse."

But it became clear that the proposal had little support. Only the United States, Norway and Kenya supported the proposal outright. The European Union asked that implementation be delayed until May 2011 to give authorities time to respond to concerns about overfishing. ...


To read the rest of this story please visit CBC.ca:

Proposal to ban the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna prized in sushi was rejected


 © The Canadian Press, 2010

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