WWF: Moratorium now for Med bluefin tuna – Fishupdate.com

WWF: Moratorium now for Med bluefin tuna Published:  05 November, 2007

THE forthcoming meeting of ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) is the forum to ascertain sustainable management of East Atlantic bluefin tuna, which is being fished to extinction in the Mediterranean Sea, says conservation group WWF.

The 45 Contracting Parties of ICCAT are meeting in Antalya, Turkey from November 9-18 (www.iccat.int/Commission2007.htm)

The reportedly huge illegal and over-quota fishing, mainly by European fleets, is said to be driven by rampant global demand for sushi – especially in Japan – and the expansion of tuna farms in the Mediterranean. Scientists and ecologists alike have been sounding a red alert on the critical risk of imminent collapse of Mediterranean bluefin tuna, but ICCAT has paid little attention.

WWF will be present at ICCAT this year to lobby for a multi annual closure, seen now as the only option to allow stock recovery.

Key issues for WWF:

1 – Moratorium now

WWF is calling for an immediate three year closure of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery, to save the species from almost certain collapse if things continue the way they are at present. “Even the urgent advice of ICCAT scientists to protect dwindling stocks has been ignored,” says Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean. “An immediate moratorium is the only sure way to avoid collapse.”

2 – Stricter enforcement and control

Following another season of rampant illegal and uncontrolled fishing, resulting in massive over-quota catches, WWF calls for much stricter monitoring and control. “The Mediterranean bluefin fiasco is the most scandalous case of fisheries mis-management currently happening in the world,” says WWF’s Sergi Tudela. “WWF is urging in-depth investigations into the suite of illegalities that have taken place across the fishery again this year.”

3 – Sustainable management tomorrow

Once stocks begin recovery, real sustainable management measures closely following scientific advice must be put in place says WWF, for a healthy fishery in the long term. “WWF supports the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks and wants to see a healthy Mediterranean bluefin fishery in years to come,” says WWF’s Sergi Tudela. “When the bluefin start recovering, and the problems hampering sustainable management have been addressed, WWF hopes to see a Mediterranean tuna fishery thriving once again.”

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