a stunningly shortsighted decision, Parties to the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species defeated a motion by the
Principality of Monaco to protect the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna by a
disappointing vote of 20 in favor, 68 against, with 30 abstentions.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna suffers from overexploitation in legal trade and
significant illegal, unregulated and underreported fishing,” noted
Species Survival Network President Will Travers. “Where is the
precautionary principle? Where are the visionaries? Will CITES really
wait until the species is commercially extinct before they act? Shame.”
by Japan, country after country – many from the small island States
whose fishing economies rely on trade with the Far East – lined up to
condemn the proposal as prejudicial to their economic development. Only
a handful of nations seemed aware of how serious the implications of
continued trade could be. For example, in 2007, while the recommended
maximum global catch size was 15,000 tonnes, the actual take was just
under 30,000 tonnes.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is detrimentally affected by massive
international trade, including illegal trade, largely to satisfy demand
for sushi and sashimi markets in Japan. If the trend in estimated
annual catch rates of between 44,948 tonnes and 61,000 tonnes (2004
through 2007) continues, this could simply wipe out remaining stocks.
The prospects for recovery are bleak.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is particularly vulnerable to overexploitation
because it is a late maturing, low productivity species, with two to
three years between spawnings,” Travers added. “We must give tuna a
reprieve from overfishing or I fear we will have served up extinction
on a plate.”
See this short video with the thoughts of Mr. Charles Clover about the CITES rejection to protect the Atlantic bluefin tuna: