Support building for bluefin tuna ban

By

Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
January 26, 2010

Pressure is mounting on Europe to back an international trade ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna.

In a Wednesday vote, the European Parliament’s environment committee overwhelmingly adopted a resolution supporting an Appendix I listing for Atlantic bluefin tuna under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).

A large majority of the committee, 48 members, voted for the resolution, with just two members against it and six absentees.

The vote sent a clear political signal to the European Commission and European Union member states in favor of Monaco’s Appendix I proposal, which would effectively suspend international trade of the prized fish. The EU is expected to adopt a formal position before the CITES meeting on 13 to 25 March.

On Monday, French fishermen reiterated their opposition to the Appendix I proposal, which they said would have “dramatic consequences” for the country’s fishing industry. France is awaiting a definitive position on bluefin tuna from President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In September, six Mediterranean states — Malta, Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and France — failed to support the EC’s recommendation for an Appendix I listing. Earlier in the month, EU Environment Commissioner Starvos Dimas and EU Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Commissioner Joe Borg agreed to back the Appendix 1 proposal. At the time, the commissioners underlined their “grave concerns” about the state of bluefin tuna stocks due to overfishing.

Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks are managed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) as two stocks (eastern and western). In November, ICCAT voted to slash the 2010 bluefin tuna quota 40 percent.

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