EC backs bluefin tuna trade ban


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 7, 2009

The European Commission on Tuesday backed a proposal to suspend international trade of Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna to protect ailing stocks from overfishing.

The commissioners — including Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Commissioner Joe Borg and Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas — agreed to adopt a joint position supporting a proposal submitted by Monaco in July to list Atlantic bluefin tuna on Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauns and Flora), which would effectively ban international trade of the species.

European Union nations will accept or reject Tuesday’s joint position at a CITES Management Committee meeting on 21 September. Numerous EU countries — including France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria — have already expressed support for the ban.

“Commissioners Dimas and Borg have made the right choice leading the EU to heed urgent scientific advice that Atlantic bluefin tuna is dangerously close to collapse and needs a break,” said Tony Long, director of World Wildlife Fund’s European policy office in Brussels. “WWF now urges other countries to follow the European Commission’s lead and back the trade suspension.”

The EU will vote collectively on the ban in March at CITES’ Conference of the Parties in Doha, Qatar.

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