Bluefin tuna ban rejected

Conservationists have deplored the failure of Atlantic and Mediterranean nations to agree compulsory measures to stop the collapse of the endangered bluefin tuna.

Despite a free-for-all of illegal fishing this year documented by environmental groups and scientific advice that catches should be reduced to less than a third of present levels, delegates to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna have rejected a proposal for a three-year moratorium on catches.

Instead of the moratorium proposed by the United States and Canada, delegates to the meeting in Antalya, Turkey, agreed for tuna “farming” representatives from the Mediterranean to meet with buyers in Tokyo in an attempt to reduce the amount of tuna caught and kept in farms.

The meeting last week heard from the head of the ICCAT’s scientific committee that without new restrictions on catches “collapse at this point is probable.”

Sergi Tudela, head of fisheries at WWF Mediterranean, said: “ICCAT has proved itself to be entirely incompetent – and has failed again in its duty to sustainably manage our common marine resources.

“ICCAT is on its death bed – but unfortunately another casualty here is the Mediterranean bluefin tuna.

“A week’s lack of action from ICCAT is bad news for the long term survival of a fishery which has been going for a thousand years and could prove fatal for the tuna.”