To the surprise of no one, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) failed again this year to adequately protect Atlantic bluefin tuna. Last week, ICCAT met in Brazil to set the 2010 quotas for the critically endangered bluefin tuna, and several of Oceana's scientists and campaigners were present.
Oceana - along with many other organizations - believes that only a complete closure of bluefin fishing in the North Atlantic, including the Mediterranean, will give the fish a chance to rebound. Rampant overfishing of both juvenile and adult bluefin in the Mediterranean, an important breeding area, has already pushed that population to the brink of collapse.
Instead, ICCAT set a total allowable catch of 13,500 tons of tuna for 2010. Combined with the huge problem of illegal fishing, this is extremely disappointing for the future of Atlantic bluefin.
With the exception of thresher sharks, ICCAT also declined to address significant protections for sharks, which are often also caught by ICCAT fisheries both intentionally and as bycatch.
"ICCAT chose to put financial and political considerations before the health of our ocean’s top predators," said Max Bello, campaign director for Oceana South America.
It increasingly looks like bluefin's only savior could be CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Bluefin tuna are currently proposed to be listed under Appendix I as a species threatened with extinction.
- CEO Note: Wyss Foundation Paves the Way for Oceana to Rebuild Fisheries in Peru, Canada Posted Wed, October 22, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Seafood Fraud Ring Uncovered in Australia, Fish Species Found to Change Skin Color, and More Posted Fri, October 17, 2014
- Ocean News: Sea Turtle Nesting in Florida Sees Steady Increase, 2014 Could Be Hottest on Record, and More Posted Tue, October 21, 2014
- New Shark Repellent May Keep Sharks from Becoming Bycatch Posted Wed, October 22, 2014
- CEO Note: President Obama Designates Largest Marine Reserve in the World Posted Fri, October 17, 2014