Greenpeace seeks tuna marine reserve


Chris Dove, contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain

Published on
July 19, 2009

 Greenpeace on Friday petitioned the Spanish government to establish a marine reserve in the Balearic Islands to protect bluefin tuna and other tuna species from overfishing.

In an press conference transmitted from the Rainbow Warrior off of the Balearic Islands, Greenpeace highlighted a measure the EU adopted in 2006 encouraging member states to set up marine reserves to protect spawning grounds.

"Red [or bluefin] tuna in the Atlantic and Mediterranean are on the edge of the extinction," said Greenpeace spokesperson Celia Ojeda. "It is urgent for a 'Balearic Sanctuary' to protect the spawning zones of this species … to assist its recovery."

Greenpeace's petition coincides with the French government's recent decision to support a ban on bluefin tuna fishing in international waters through its participation in CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Threatened Wild Flora and Fauna Species). France plans to set aside 10 percent of its waters as marine reserves by 2012, and 20 percent by 2020.

The petition also coincides with the inaugural Workshop of Strategies for the Planning and Conservation of Canaries' Marine Resources in Las Palmas, Spain, next week.

The Rainbow Warrior is in the final stage of its tour of Mediterranean marine reserves, in which it will visit Italy, France, Greece, Turkey and Lebanon to promote the conservation of the Mediterranean ecosystem.

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