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 Bluefin tuna faces extinction

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Join date : 2009-10-04
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PostSubject: Bluefin tuna faces extinction   Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:56 am

SAO PAULO (BRAZIL) - ENVIRONMENTALISTS on Sunday warned that bluefin tuna was on its way to extinction after a international meeting of fishery ministry officials trimmed catch quotas but upheld continued hauls of the fish, prized in sushi dishes.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) set the catch limit for bluefin, considered the most valuable fish in the sea, at 13,500 tons, down from the 19,950-ton quota originally decided for 2010 in an EU accord with ICCAT in Brussels in April this year.

Yearly quotas set up by ICCAT are systematically exceeded by industrial fleets. That and illegal fishing have caused the bluefin population to decline by more than 85 per cent in the eastern Atlantic and by more than 90 per cent in the western Atlantic.

Susan Lieberman, the head of international policy for the Pew Environmental Group, told AFP in a telephone interview that while a quota cut was a positive step, it was 'too little too late' and was 'not enough for even 50 per cent chance of recovering the species.' 'We were calling for a suspension' of all bluefin tuna catches for at least a year, or, failing that, the quota of '8,000 tons or less,' she said.

Environmental groups are now backing a call from Monaco for the issue of bluefin tuna to be taken before a March meeting of CITES, an international body that sets rules against illegal wildlife trade, with the aim of declaring the fish endangered and putting a ban on catching it. -- AFP

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