Bluefin tuna trade ban is backed by science

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Bluefin tuna trade ban is backed by science

October 30, 2009 - 17:21
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Scientists who advise fisheries regulators support a ban on trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna to protect the species from over-fishing. All populations of bluefin tuna are being caught faster than they can reproduce. Bluefin is being further depleted by ranching operations that collect small bluefin and raise them to full size to sell primarily to the sushi market.

Atlantic bluefin tuna is mainly caught from countries around the Mediterranean Sea.

Scientists estimate that the current spawning biomass is less than 15 per cent of what it once was before fishing began—meaning Atlantic bluefin tuna meets the criteria for a CITES Appendix I listing

A proposal tabled by Monaco could result in a ban in the international trade of the fish, will be considered during the meeting of the convention's 175 state members in Qatar next year.

However, it is unlikely to enjoy the full support of European Union countries, which in September voted down plans for the ban.

"All the countries around the Mediterranean came out against" any ban on trade in the fish, a European Union source said in September.

Nonetheless, last week the European Union gave its provisional backing for a worldwide ban on bluefin tuna fishing, which would throw the huge market for Japanese sushi into turmoil.

Atlantic bluefin tuna are mainly caught from countries around the Mediterranean Sea, but most of the meat is consumed in Asia, particularly Japan.

Some 80 percent of Atlantic bluefin tuna fished out of the Mediterranean ends up in the Japanese market.

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