Fisheries Nations Set to Discuss Bluefin Tuna

Publication: Associated Press

Author: Michael Casey


11/10/2012 - After defeating a proposal in 2010 to ban the export of an endangered fish that is a key ingredient of sushi, Japan and Asian nations argued it should be left to quota-setting international fisheries bodies to bring the species back from the brink.

Two years on, their strategy for rebuilding stocks of Atlantic Bluefin tuna appears to be working.

Thanks in part to a sharp reduction in the amount of fish legally caught, the bluefin population in the Atlantic is on the rebound though "the magnitude and speed of the increase vary considerably," according to a stock assessment by scientists released ahead of the annual International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas which starts Monday in Morocco.

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"This year is really a test year for ICCAT," said Amanda Nickson, director of the Global Tuna Conservation Campaign at the Pew Environment Group.

"The stock assessment results seem to indicate there may be the possibility of a glimmer of recovery but it's so uncertain at the moment," she said. "This is the first year where they will have to stick to science even if does look like there is a bit of good news. So it's important from our perspective we retain pressure on governments at ICCAT to listen to that science. Our key message is hold those quotas where they are."

"None of these measures really add up unless they are complied with and unless there is enforcement," said Susan Lieberman, deputy director of international policy for Pew. "There is significant illegal fishing and overfishing above the quotas in the Atlantic Ocean in ICCAT. It is extremely important for the future of those fisheries, for the future of fishing communities and for those governments and fishing industries that illegal fishing be stopped and that there be efforts ensured that rules and regulations of ICCAT are good, but not only good, but complied with."

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Read the full article, Fisheries Nations Set to Discuss Bluefin Tuna, on the Associated Press website.

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