View Full Version : MEPs vote for tuna trade ban

Davie Tait
11th February 2010, 20:08

Thursday, 11 February 2010 12:52

MEMBERS of the European Parliament have voted in favour of a ban of international commercial trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna through a CITES Appendix I listing.

422 of the 736 MEPs have voted for the EU to formally back the international tuna trade ban proposal at next month’s meeting of the 175 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) member countries in Doha, Qatar – where the EU holds 27 votes.

The European Commission is expected to declare its formal recommendation any day, while the formal EU position will then be decided finally at a meeting of EU Member States before the CITES parties meet in Doha.

“Today’s European Parliament vote is a strong endorsement of the need to bring Atlantic bluefin tuna back from the brink of collapse via an international trade ban,” said Dr Sergi Tudela, WWF’s tuna expert.

“WWF urges new European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik and EU member states to heed this massive call from constituencies across the EU to support an international trade ban for this endangered species, without condition or delay,” said Tudela.

Following France’s confirmation last week of its support for a CITES Appendix I listing for Atlantic bluefin tuna, another major Mediterranean tuna fishing nation – Italy – also today confirmed its backing for the international trade ban.

“WWF calls on all EU member states – and all CITES member countries – to follow today’s call from the European Parliament and back the international trade ban in Doha,” said Tudela. “A CITES Appendix I listing will give Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks a chance to recover and offers the best chance that fishing activity around the Mediterranean Sea can continue in the long term. Without drastic action this species will be fished and traded to extinction.”

Davie Tait
11th March 2010, 20:31

Thursday, 11 March 2010 12:10

European Union member states have confirmed they will vote for a ban on international commercial trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna during the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which starts this week in Qatar.

EU members said yesterday they would vote to list Atlantic bluefin tuna on Appendix I of the convention, joining a growing list of supporting countries, including the USA.

The decision was welcomed by conservationists. Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean, said: “WWF welcomes the EU announcement, which will give this devastated species the possibility to recover. Other governments must back the ban when they meet for CITES later this week.

“The EU is a major trade and development partner in many key regions of the world, and some countries may have been hanging back on Atlantic bluefin tuna to see what the Europeans would decide to do,” Tudela said. “With the two largest holders of bluefin tuna fishing quota on either side of the Atlantic – the US and EU – now supporting the trade ban, other countries should follow suit.”

However, the EU is backing exemptions for traditional fishers, and deferring the ban for a year.

Dr Tudela said: “We do not understand the continuing need on the part of the EU for conditions to be attached to the Appendix I listing. WWF believes this trade ban should be implemented immediately, without conditions or delay.

“The EU must now push for widespread support of this proposal during the CITES meeting.”

The proposal to list Atlantic bluefin tuna on CITES Appendix I was submitted by the Principality of Monaco in October. Atlantic bluefin tuna is at serious risk of commercial extinction because of decades of unsustainable and illegal fishing in the Mediterranean Sea, driven by demand from Japan’s luxury seafood markets.

The eligibility of Atlantic bluefin tuna for the CITES Appendix I listing proposal is backed by independent experts including a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization panel, and the scientific committee of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the regional fisheries management organisation in charge of this fishery.

The 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP 15) will take place on March 13-25.

The Convention is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival in the wild.

Davie Tait
18th March 2010, 20:34

Thursday, 18 March 2010 15:10
THE representatives of countries meeting in Doha, Qatar, for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species’ (CITES) 15th Conference of the Parties have voted against including Atlantic bluefin tuna in Appendix 1.
OCEANA, the world’s largest ocean conservation organisation, released the following statement from senior campaign director Dave Allison today following the vote.
“In a clear win by short-term economic interest over the long-term health of the ocean and the rebuilding of Atlantic bluefin tuna populations and fishery, CITES today voted to deny prohibition of the international trade of the species.
“In an additional attack on transparency of action by the international community, Iceland called for a secret vote that prevented the countries votes from being disclosed
“Although there were repeated calls from delegates from the E.U., U.S., and Monaco to allow time for parties to meet and arrive at a compromise position, the Libyan delegate forced a pre-emptory vote on the E.U. proposal which resulted in a 43 to 72 vote, with 14 abstaining. The final vote on the Monaco proposal was 20 to 68, with 30 abstaining.”
WWF has responded saying that they will proactively call on restaurants, retailers, chefs and consumers around the world to stop selling, serving, buying and eating this endangered species. Already a growing body of the global seafood market sector is choosing to avoid Atlantic bluefin tuna to give the exhausted fish stocks a chance of recovery – including such groups as Carrefour Europe.
“After overwhelming scientific justification and growing political support in past months – with backing from the majority of catch quota holders on both sides of the Atlantic – it is scandalous that governments did not even get the chance to engage in meaningful debate about the international trade ban proposal for Atlantic bluefin tuna,” said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean and observer at the CITES Conference of the Parties in Doha.
Once the Principality of Monaco had tabled the proposal this afternoon and a number of countries had given brief interventions, Libya called for an immediate vote on the proposal.
“The regional fisheries management organization in charge of this fishery – the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, ICCAT – has repeatedly failed to sustainably manage this fishery,” said Dr Tudela. “ICCAT has so far failed miserably in this duty so every pressure at the highest level must come to bear to ensure it does what it should.”
“It is now more important than ever for people to do what the politicians failed to do – stop consuming bluefin tuna,” Dr Tudela said.
The Principality of Monaco – the CITES member country that submitted the proposal for a CITES Appendix I listing of the species – became last year the first country in the world to be entirely bluefin tuna free. WWF is urging other countries to follow suit.
Inclusion of Atlantic bluefin tuna in CITES Appendix I would have banned international trade in the species.
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas’ (ICCAT) Standing Committee of Research and Statistics (SCRS) has estimated that the North Atlantic bluefin tuna spawning biomass has been decimated to less than 15 percent of its unfished biomass, with the sharpest decline occurring in the last decade. Environmental organisations argued prior to the Doha meeting that Bluefin tuna meets criterion C “marked decline” for inclusion in CITES Appendix I as a species endangered with extinction.