Markets threaten boycott of Mediterranean bluefin tuna – Fishupdate.com

Markets threaten boycott of Mediterranean bluefin tuna Published:  09 November, 2006

RESPONDING to fears of an imminent collapse of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, major buyers in Japan and Europe are threatening a boycott unless drastic measures are taken to protect the threatened stock, WWF, the global conservation organisation, has claimed.

According to WWF, major Japanese retailer Seiyu has declared it will not buy bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean as long as stocks are in danger of collapse. Meanwhile restaurants in Europe – Moshi Moshi in the UK and Memento in Spain – have also stopped buying Mediterranean bluefin tuna.

“Seiyu sees the Mediterranean bluefin tuna issue as a matter of serious importance,” said Mr Kazunari Take, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager of Seiyu. “We are closely monitoring the situation and will act responsibly as befits our industry leader position.”

Seiyu is one of the largest retailers in Japan, with 211 shops and a turnover of some 4.5 billion euros. Japan is the first market for Mediterranean bluefin tuna in the world, where the fish is highly prized for sushi and sashimi.

Through corporate social responsibility, Seiyu advocates contributing to a sustainable society and planet by way of intelligent business activity. “The merchandise procurement process must have a perspective for long-term global environmental conservation,” continued Mr Take.

In the UK, sushi restaurant chain Moshi Moshi has stopped serving bluefin tuna as a direct response to the critical situation of stocks in the Mediterranean. “We replaced bluefin on our menus with other tuna species – such as yellowfin, albacore and bigeye – and sushi lovers still keep coming,” said Caroline Bennett, founder and owner of Moshi Moshi. “If we eat too much bluefin tuna today, there will be none left tomorrow.”

Another restaurant, Memento in Madrid, echoes this reaction. “Bluefin tuna carpaccio was the most popular dish at my restaurant – but I have taken it off the menu,” said Karen Bell, owner of Memento. “We strongly support the urgent conservation of this magnificent species. I will not use bluefin tuna in any of our dishes until I am sure it is sustainably managed and safe from the risk of extinction.”

Delegates from the 42-nation International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which is responsible for regulating the fishery, are meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia next week to discuss conservation and management measures for the fishery.

WWF warns that it will urge the Japanese government to instruct all tuna buyers to stop importing Mediterranean bluefin tuna – if ICCAT fails to agree the strict recovery plan for the fishery that has been recommended by international scientists.

“Consumers do not want to eat illegal and threatened bluefin tuna,” said Dr Arata Izawa, Marine Programme Officer of WWF-Japan. “If ICCAT fails to adopt the necessary management measures, responsible buyers will have no choice but to stop importing bluefin from the Mediterranean if they want the species to have any chance of survival.”

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