The mighty bluefin: Are rumors of its death at least slightly exaggerated? “Nations free to fish bluefin tuna to extinction,” thundered Tom Laskawy’s headline on Grist. On the Politics of the Plate blog, Barry Estabrook’s title was more concise: “Bye-bye bluefin.”
They were reacting to the decision by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) not to ban trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, a highly overfished species prized in Japan.
Slow down, everyone: don’t go into mourning for this iconic fish just yet.
Even if the CITES ban had been approved, we can’t be certain the situation was going to get better for bluefin. After all, there are some compelling arguments for why CITES may not have been the appropriate tool to fix this problem. Japan, which consumes 80 percent of bluefin tuna worldwide, had already made clear their intention to ignore the CITES ban if approved. And we already know there are many countries that fail to enforce current laws limiting bluefin harvest — why would they implement or enforce laws required by a voluntary trade agreement?
In a press re... Read more