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UK Calls for International Bluefin Tuna Ban

by the Fish Site Editor
21 July 2009, at 1:00am

UK - The UK government has backed calls for an international ban on trade in endangered bluefin tuna.

We’re delighted that Fisheries Minister Huw Irranca-Davies is taking a strong stance over the severely overexploited Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna, sais the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

WWF Marine Programme Manager, Sally Bailey, points out: “The Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery is collapsing and, unless we take immediate action, the breeding population will disappear by 2012.

“We’re urging the government to encourage other countries to follow this lead and ban international trade. It’s our last chance to save this iconic species.”

The problem with bluefin tuna

Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna is in big trouble, largely because there’s not enough policing of the way it’s fished.

The world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for luxury seafood (bluefin is a popular ingredient in sushi) and the record prices this kind of tuna now fetches, has led to fishing fleets catching far more than their legal quotas.

According to the WWF, other harmful activities include illegal spotting planes to chase tuna, under-reporting of catch, pirate fishing, fishing during the closed season and management measures that disregard scientific advice.

All of these have contributed to the species’ dramatic decline.

Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF-Mediterranean, says the bluefin tuna fishing industry is a “complex fiasco”.

“We hope to see a sustainably managed and thriving fishery in future, but in order to recover, the species has to be given a breather.

“If the world doesn’t put the brakes on its voracious appetite now, an amazing species – and fishery – could be lost forever.”

the Fish Site Editor