Oceana and Marviva welcome a step forward in bluefin tuna protection

The United States has decided to “strongly support” the listing of bluefin tuna on CITES Appendix I

Press Release Date: April 22, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Last night, United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided to support Monaco’s proposal for listing Atlantic bluefin tuna on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Oceana and MarViva welcome this important effort towards bluefin tuna conservation. Monaco proposal, if agreed in the upcoming Conference of the Parties that will be held in March 2010 in Doha (Qatar), would imply a total ban on bluefin tuna international trade.

Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe, congratulated the U.S. Administration for the positive efforts carried out towards bluefin tuna protection: The United States is a country that imports bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean Sea, and at the same time home to several Atlantic fisheries targeting this species. However, they are conscious of the stock’s situation and have taken an important step forward in conservation. This is an example that the European Union has to follow”.

Recently, the European Union rejected to support Monaco’s proposal. However, it is not too late and Member States can still reconsider their position. Italy, France, Malta and Spain, the countries with the highest bluefin tuna quota allocation or those that host bluefin tuna farms, were the main opposing countries.

Oceana and MarViva call on those countries to change their position, and to reconsider an option that would guarantee the survival not only of this endangered species, but also of the long term economic activity that depends on it.

Atlantic bluefin tuna has been driven to the brink of collapse due to mismanagement, overfishing, and the greed of the sushi and sashimi market. Mature bluefin tuna have been decimated on both sides of the Atlantic: the European stock has been depleted 74% and the western stock 82%.  According to ICCAT’s[1] own scientific advisors, global fleets are catching three times more bluefin tuna than what is sustainable.

The next ICCAT meeting will be held from the 6th to the 15th of November in Recife (Brazil). 


[1] ICCAT is the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the relevant regional fisheries body for Atlantic bluefin tuna management