Retailers urged to boycott Mediterranean bluefin tuna –

Retailers urged to boycott Mediterranean bluefin tuna Published:  28 January, 2008

WWF is calling on retailers to follow the example of several major European supermarket chains and stop selling Mediterranean bluefin tuna until the imperilled species is out of the danger zone.

The global conservation organisation’s call was made as the Seafood Summit 2008 commenced in Barcelona, Spain this week.

“WWF applauds Auchan in France, Carrefour in Italy, Coop in both Italy and Switzerland, and ICA in Norway for their courageous decisions to stop selling Mediterranean bluefin tuna – and we urge other retailers to follow suit,” says Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean. “The seafood industry is waking up to its responsibilities, recognising that there is not an endless supply of fish like bluefin tuna. By taking action now, retailers can help give this amazing species a fighting chance of survival, for the benefit of both business and the marine ecosystem.”

Scientists have declared it “probable” that the magnificent bluefin tuna, claimed as the fish behind the finest sushi in the world, will soon collapse in the Mediterranean – unless action is taken now.

At an international tuna management meeting last November (ICCAT – International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas), WWF urged contracting countries to agree on a three-year ban on bluefin tuna fishing. WWF said the conservation measure was rejected, instead putting short-term interests ahead of sustainability and long-term profitability.

Following massive demand in recent years – especially from Japan – high-tech fishing fleets have hunted down, often illegally, ever-declining numbers of these migratory ocean giants. WWF exposed the drastically out-of-control nature of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery in the 2007 season when illegal fishing was again rife – including the use of banned spotter planes, as well as widespread unreporting. According to WWF sources, the Spanish authorities, for example, officially declared only two thirds of the nation’s catch last year.

“Fisheries management has gone completely off the rails – the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery is now a dangerous game in which clearly all sides will lose,” adds Dr Tudela. “That’s why WWF is urging retailers to stand up for sustainable fish.” is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.