Nations now free to fish bluefin tuna to extinction
Well, bluefin tuna, it was nice knowing you:
A proposal to ban the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna prized in sushi has been rejected by a U.N. wildlife meeting.
Thursday’s decision occurred after Japan, Canada and scores of poor nations opposed the measure on the grounds that it would devastate fishing economies.
Monaco introduced the proposal at the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. It argued that extreme measures are necessary because the stocks have fallen by 75 percent and current managing agencies have done nothing to rebuild the stocks.
Only the United States, Norway and Kenya supported the proposal outright. The European Union asked that implementation be delayed until May 2011 to give authorities to respond to concerns about overfishing.
The Pew Environment Group responded to the news:
Today’s vote puts the fate of Atlantic bluefin tuna back in the hands of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the very body that drove the species to the disastrous state it is now in.
Ah, the ICCAT, or as marine biologist Carl Safina likes to call it, the International Conspiracy to Catch All Tunas. The ICCAT has repeatedly overruled its own scientists to set catch quotas far above sustainable levels. In fact, ICCAT’s scientists recently came out in support of the trade ban just rejected at the CITES meeting. The only thing the ICCAT seems able to manage is the Atlantic bluefin’s destruction.
It’d be nice to think that at there are plenty of fish in the sea, but really, there aren’t. At least the U.S. did the right thing. The rest of the international community may not have mustered the courage to save the tuna, but everyone should realize that, vote or no, Atlantic bluefin tuna is an endangered species and should not be eaten. You have been warned.