« January 2009 Table of Contents
News Line: Bluefin, bigeye tuna quotas cut
ICCAT decision rankles U.S., environmental groups
- James Wright
January 01, 2009
The International Commission for the Conservation of
Atlantic Tunas last month reduced the 2009 bluefin tuna quota
to 22,000 metric tons, a level the United States and several
environmental groups say is not nearly enough to save the
species from collapse in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and
A U.S. delegation to the ICCAT meeting in Marrakech,
Morocco, urged the international body of 45 nations and the
European Commission to cut catch levels from 29,000 metric tons
to about 15,000 metric tons. Much of the tuna harvested from
the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean ends up in Japan.
"I am extremely disappointed with the results of this
meeting," says Dr. Rebecca Lent, head of the U.S. delegation
and director of international affairs at the National Marine
Fisheries Service. "While the commission followed the
recommendation to reduce catch levels for the western stock
consistent with the science, it continues to put the species as
a whole in jeopardy by authorizing excessive fishing levels on
the eastern stock."
"ICCAT's string of successive failures leaves us little
option now but to seek effective remedies through trade
measures and extending the boycott of retailers, restaurants,
chefs and consumers," adds Sergi Tudela, Mediterranean
fisheries program leader for World Wildlife Fund.
The catch level for the western Atlantic stock was reduced
from 2,100 metric tons to 1,800 metric tons by 2010. This
much-smaller stock is harvested by the United States, Canada,
Mexico and Japan. - J.W.