Bluefin Tuna Debate Reaches Towering Heights in Paris, Again

bluefin-tuna-sushi-japanGreenpeace calls on ICCAT to close down the Mediterranean Bluefin Fishery at Paris conference.

The Japanese aren’t going to let the bluefish tuna resume its predatory ocean going unimpeded any time soon, since that country comprises 80% of its international market. Nor are Mediterranean countries (and their fishermen) – which in large measure supply that fleshy demand. Meanwhile, activists (Greenpeace in particular) and scientists are adamant that although Asian countries blocked efforts to list the Bluefish Tuna as endangered, that is what they are.

The European Union and United Nations are attempting to restore order where the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) has failed, but all parties are gripped with a chronic political apathy that will end, it is feared, with no more Bluefin to catch.  Greenpeace representatives arrived at the ICCAT conference with a banner proclaiming “Bluefish Tuna: 9 Days To Live,” and brought a car with a bluefish tuna on the top that created some sensation..

Not everyone in attendance used such dramatic tactics to draw attention to the fish’s dubious status. Mr John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, which has never before addressed the commission tasked with ensuring the recovery of dwindling tuna stock, urged ICCAT to “provide decisive leadership for the recovery plans for the Atlantic bluefin tuna.”

Greenpeace is urging more. They are calling on ICCAT to close down the Mediterranean bluefin fishery in particular. Campaigner Oliver Knowles made the following statement:

This is the final mayday call – years of overfishing, mismanagement and political failure mean that ICCAT must close the Mediterranean bluefin fishery until the species can be shown to have recovered… ICCAT documents released this week show that thousands of tonnes of bluefin tuna are languishing in cages in the Mediterranean, apparently unable to be sold. This begs the question- why continue to fish an endangered species if thousands of tons of it cannot be sold?

Over 10,000 tonnes of caught tuna are still being kept in cages in Croatia, Malta, and Turkey, according to  Greenpeace, who is critical of ICCAT’s inability to properly control illegal fishing, and to create regulations that agree with the science.

In 2007, four times the suggested amount of Bluefin were caught, and twice as much as stipulated by regulations. Greenpeace claims that the UN and EU support quota reductions, but Ray Casert, writing for Huffington Post, claims the European Union has also gone soft on formerly strong appeals to save the bluefish tuna.

If we can’t save a fish that is absolutely critical to maintaining a healthy ocean ecosystem, how are we going to save the world?

:: Greenpeace

More on the bluefin tuna:

Clash Between Greenpeace Activists and Bluefin Tuna Fishermen

Abu Dhabi Chef Removes Threatened Fish From Menu

image via sekimura

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