As of November 17, over 84,000 letters have been sent to the United States government urging protection of bluefin tuna spawning grounds at the 17th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT, Paris, November 17-27, 2010).
In addition, a nationally representative survey conducted in October 2010 has revealed that there is strong support among the US public for bluefin tuna conservation measures. In order to understand public awareness in the United States regarding the status of bluefin tuna and support for bluefin tuna conservation measures, the Pew Environment Group engaged Edge Research to conduct quantitative research. The survey was conducted using U.S. nationally representative RDD telephone sample, and reached 1008 adults 18 and older from October 7 to 10, 2010.
KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:
SPAWNING GROUND PROTECTION
Respondents were asked their support for permanently closing bluefin spawning grounds in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico to certain types of fishing in order to prevent mature bluefin from being caught before reproducing.
Among those who had heard about bluefin tuna prior to the survey, support for the spawning ground closure is 64% in favor, 29% undecided and only 6% opposed.
SUSPENSION OF THE BLUEFIN TUNA FISHERY
Support is strong for suspension of bluefin tuna fishing until new rules are put in place and populations have recovered. Of those polled, 52% are in support with 39% undecided and only 9% opposed.
Among those who had heard about bluefin tuna prior to the survey, support for a fishing moratorium was even stronger at 62%.
LONGLINING IN THE GULF OF MEXICO
A majority support the elimination of surface longline fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, which catches spawning bluefin tuna as bycatch. When asked if they would support a plan to eliminate longline fishing and replace it with other types of fishing that better target desired fish and allow the release of unwanted fish while they are still living, 61% were in favor, 32% were undecided and only 7% were opposed.
In the South, the region most affected by the elimination of longlining, support was just as strong at 61%.
Fully 74% of those who had heard about bluefin tuna were in favor of eliminating longline fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
‘US SHOULD TAKE STRONG MEASURES AT ICCAT AND URGE OTHER COUNTRIES TO DO THE SAME'
Finally, 61% of the American public agrees that in international meetings to set the rules for bluefin tuna fishing, the United States should agree to strong conservation measures for bluefin and urge other countries to do the same.
The survey was conducted using U.S. nationally representative RDD telephone sample, and reached 1008 adults 18 and older from October 7 to 10, 2010.