Tuna talks flounder as Fisheries Managers meet in Spain

Greenpeace calls for market action to save the world's favourite fish

Press release - 3 July, 2009
After a week of discussions on the huge problems facing the tuna industry, countries attending the second joint meeting of tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) in Spain have failed once again to take any action to solve the threats facing the world's favourite fish.

Greenpeace was disappointed to see that the only real outcome of the meeting was an agreement that the RFMOs convene four workshops in one year's time.

"It's been yet another week of inaction," said Lagi Toribau, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Campaigner in San Sebastian. "The RFMOs acknowledge that tuna stocks are in deep trouble. They acknowledge that there are simply too many fishing vessels operating around the world. They acknowledge that the tuna fisheries are laying waste to a large amount of other marine life, such as turtles, sharks and seabirds, because of the wasteful fishing techniques, like purse seining and fish aggregation devices. Yet not a single agreement has been made to start addressing any of these issues."

The world's tuna fisheries are not only unsustainable but also incredibly inequitable, due to the fact that few of the financial benefits go back to the resource owners - the coastal states. It is the rich fishing nations of the north that reap the benefits, leading to a situation where the management of tuna fisheries continues to be driven primarily by the short-term interests of developed countries.

"Unless the issue of how the benefits from global tuna fisheries are equitably shared among all countries is adequately addressed, there will not be a solution to the global tuna fisheries' problems," added Toribau. "A strong reduction of the global tuna fleet and a swift move towards domestic fisheries, using selective fishing techniques, is the only way forward. Pole-and-line fisheries, for example, provide a much more equitable and sustainable option."

In light of the RFMOs' failure to provide any action, Greenpeace is calling on retailers and markets to stop the sale of species that are being overfished - such as bluefin, bigeye and yellow fin tuna - until fishing is reduced to sustainable long-term levels. Greenpeace is also calling on markets to reject tuna that is caught by wasteful fishing techniques and to source tuna from coastal state owned and operated selective fleets.

Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of fully protected marine reserves covering 40% of our oceans as an essential way to protect our seas from the ravages of climate change, to restore the health of fish stocks and to protect ocean life from habitat destruction and collapse.

Other contacts: Lagi Toribau, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Campaigner, in San Sebastian:
+679 9370330

Sebastian Losada, Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner, in San Sebastian:
+ 34 626998254

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