The European Union, representing the majority of
Mediterraneancountries with interests in the bluefin tuna fishery,
has bullied otherparties in the meeting into agreeing to management
proposals whichcompletely fail to follow the advice of ICCAT's own
scientific body tosubstantially reduce fishing and protect the
species' spawning grounds.
Despite efforts by a number of concerned countries (1), they
wereunable to overcome the push by the EU to refuse to adopt
measures whichcould save the species from collapse. In 2009,
countries will be ableto fish over 22,500 tonnes of bluefin tuna in
the fishery, 7,500 tonnesover the level recommended by scientists
to avoid the collapse of thepopulation. The new management plan
fails to protect the spawningpopulation and merely shortens the
purse seine fishing season,responsible for the bulk of illegal
catches, by 10 days. The pressurefrom the European countries has
been so strong that they have evenmanaged to slow down the
´payback` for the illegal catches made in theregion in 2007.
"The game is over - ICCAT has missed its last chance to save
thebluefin tuna from stock collapse," said Sebastian Losada,
GreenpeaceSpain Oceans Campaigner, who has been attending the
Marrakech meeting."Bluefin tuna has become an endangered species
because of ICCATmismanagement. It's time to take the fishery out of
their hands andlook to Conventions like CITES to impose trade
restrictions on thespecies."
"These past seven days have demonstrated that ICCAT is a farce -
it hasrun a stock under its management into the ground and it is
not evenprepared to face the consequences. The meeting has been
more akin to abazaar than a state affair, with governments and
industry ruthlesslybargaining for the last tuna," said Losada.
In 2006, following years of extremely high levels of pirate
fishing,among others by European Union fishing vessels, ICCAT
agreed a bluefintuna "recovery plan" that set a 'Total Allowable
Catch' of 29,500tonnes for the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean
Sea. ICCAT's ownScientific Committee recommended a sustainable
limit of 15,000 tonnes.Since then the very same scientists have
estimated that bluefin tunacatches were about 61,000 tonnes in
Greenpeace has been calling for a closure of the fishery until a
properrecovery plan is in place including at a very minimum a Total
AllowedCatch (TAC) in line with the scientific advice, a seasonal
closurecovering the months of May, June and July and the
establishment ofmarine reserves to protect the bluefin tuna
spawning grounds. (3)
"The European Union and the main fishing countries such as Spain
andFrance, which currently leads the Union of 27 Member States,
shouldbear the brunt of the criticism for this shameful outcome,"
saidGreenpeace International Oceans Campaigner François Provost.
"They haveagain placed short term financial gain ahead of the
long-term survivalof the species, and of the livelihood of
fishermen that depend on it.ICCAT´s own independent review panel
was right - ICCAT´s management ofthe fishery is an international
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of fully
protectedmarine reserves covering 40% of our oceans as an essential
way toprotect our seas from the ravages of climate change, to
restore thehealth of fish stocks and protect ocean life from
habitat destructionand collapse
Other contacts: Further information:(In Marrakech)Michael Kessler, Greenpeace International Media Officer, +34 655 792 699Sebastian Losada, Greenpeace Spain Oceans Campaigner, +34 626 998 254
Notes: (1) Those countries included: Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Norway, South Africa and the United States.(2) While scientists had recommended a maximum TAC of 15,000 t, the current plan approved a quota of 29,500 t in 2007, 28,500 t in 2008, 27,500 t in 2009 and 25,500 t in 2010.(3)See the Greenpeace submission to ICCAT 2008:http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/ICCAT-16(4) A recently released performance review of ICCAT written by a panel of experts appointed by ICCAT itself states that "/the management by ICCAT CPCs of this bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean is widely seen as an international disgrace./" The panel itself recommends ICCAT/ "the suspension of fishing on bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean until the CPCs fully comply with ICCAT recommendations on bluefin."The panel consisted of Glenn Hurry, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and the current Chairman of the WCPFC, Moritaka Hayashi, Professor (now emeritus) of International Law, Waseda University in Japan, and Jean-Jacques Maguire, a well known and respected international fisheries scientist from Canada."