Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bluefin Ban?

Despite my best efforts it appears as though there are no good videos of bluefin schools (in the wild) that I could embed here for your viewing pleasure. Maybe it's a sign of the times...

Somewhere out there in the ocean, the world's last bluefin tuna may be swimming along minding it's own business.

Meanwhile, fisherman eager for a big payday are out busily catching all the bluefin they can to feed the world's (well mostly Japan's) sushi habit. At the same time conservationists are continuing to advocate for a ban on bluefin. These day's a full scale ban may be the majestic bluefin's last, best hope.

For years the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT, often known as the International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna) has ignored scientific recommendations in setting catch limits and fisherman have in turn exceed even these modest quotas.

It seems as though, at least on paper, bluefin may finally get some of the protection that they need to rebuild and avoid extinction. has proposed an Appendix I listing of bluefin with the COnvention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which would ban international trade in bluefin.

The US has just announced that it will support the move at the upcoming CITES meeting later in March which is a big step forward. But Japan, by far the world's largest consumer of bluefin, has announced that it will ignore any ban on bluefin, which probably means that a ban won't be successful.

As long as demand exists and a market can be formed, bluefin will be fished. In fact as the amount of bluefin left in the oceans dwindles, its value will rise and it will be hunted ever more aggressively until its all gone.

(this is hot news these days, and Barry Estabrook has written often and well on the subject, this is the post he always points back to)

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