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Govt of Malta Urged to Support Tuna Fishing Ban

MALTA - The government is being urged to back the recent international bluefin tuna fishing ban.

Din l-Art Helwa has urged the government to back the proposal tabled by Monaco to ban trade in bluefin tuna until breeding stocks recover, reports Times of Malta.

"Anything less than that will be nothing but shortsighted. This immediate measure will ensure the long-term survival of the fishing industry and certainly the lessons of the collapse of cod stocks should serve us well," the NGO said.

Malta and some other countries have been resisting the Monaco proposal, pending further studies.

DLH said that in 2007, the proportion of breeding tuna was only 25 per cent of the levels of 50 years ago, with most of the decline occurring in recent years.

Scientists at a meeting last month of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) said the spawning biomass had reached the critical level of less that 15 per cent of what it was before industrialised fishing began. On this evidence, the tuna qualifies for ICCAT's criteria for protection of an endangered species.

Only recently, EU Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, secured an agreement for stricter controls against illegal fishing and harsher penalties from next year.

"It is, however, a sad truism that past experience has shown these regulations have not had the desired effect and breeding stocks are still declining steadily," the NGO told Times of Malta.

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