Policy Statement on Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Management

November 19, 2010 10:26

 Greenpeace, Oceana, the Pew Environment Group and WWF call upon member governments of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to immediately protect the severely depleted Atlantic bluefin tuna. Over 30 years of mismanagement and illegal fishing, along with negligent reporting, fraud, and a disregard for science has resulted in an estimated decline in Atlantic bluefin tuna populations of up to 85 percent since 1970, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

In the eastern Atlantic, fraudulent reporting and a blatant disregard for catch limits have contributed to a thriving bluefin tuna black market, valued at $USD4 billion between 1998 and 2007. In the West, populations are classified as "critically endangered" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and have yet to recover, 30 years after their collapse.

There is unfounded optimism on the part of some fishing countries in the Mediterranean that the status quo will result in the recovery of this species. Yet, as bluefin fishermen in the Western Atlantic can attest, ICCAT's "status quo management" has done nothing but maintain population levels at 15 percent of their former levels. Greenpeace, Oceana, the Pew Environment Group and WWF call upon ICCAT member countries to take the only responsible course of action:  close the industrial purse seine fishery and farming activity in the eastern Atlantic at a minimum, protect bluefin tuna spawning grounds in the Mediterranean Sea and Gulf of Mexico and adopt comprehensive precautionary management measures that comply with international legal commitments.

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