Environmentalists renew call for moratorium on Pacific longlining – Fishupdate.com

Environmentalists renew call for moratorium on Pacific longlining Published:  13 February, 2006

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are renewing a call for a moratorium on longlining in the Pacific until protections are put into place to safeguard the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle.

Scientists warn the turtle could become extinct in as little as five years unless the threat of longline fishing is controlled.

This week, the United Nations General Assembly will convene a high level working group to address the biological diversity crisis on the high seas. Environmentalists claim that, despite the General Assembly’s November 2005 resolution that calls for conservation measures and closures of fishing in areas where large numbers of critically endangered sea turtles are caught or killed, the regional fisheries management organisations tasked with implementing the UN mandate have failed to take action.

“Regional fishery management organisations are acting as if the UN does not exist. The UN’s legitimate and timely concerns over biological diversity and long term food supply are being ignored so that sushi and shark fin soup can fill the dinner plates of the wealthy,” said Robert Ovetz, Save the Leatherback Campaign Coordinator of the US-based Sea Turtle Restoration Project which is leading the advocacy effort by a coalition of international environmental organisations.

“It is time for the UN to take more proactive steps by either coming down hard on the regional fisheries management organisations or going over their heads and supporting the longline moratorium in the Pacific.”

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