Monday, November 24, 2008

Teeth & Tuna: ICCAT and EU consider tuna and shark limits

In past postings I have mentioned the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). It is the primary organization responsible for setting regulations regarding the taking of Bluefin Tuna in the Atlantic. That population is very close to reaching the classic "tipping point", where declining populations will suddenly plummet as the biological reproductive infrastructure collapses due to over-fishing. Already the population figures are showing staggering declines.

On a positive note, the ICCAT is meeting in Morocco and many of the participants, including representatives from the European Union and the United States, are feeling the heat from conservation organizations armed with not just "tree hugger" rhetoric but solid scientific data. There are several proposals on the table - from reduced catches to complete moratoriums, particularly in Atlanctic breeding grounds. (Read Oceana press release.)

Oceana also has announced that the European Union is seriously considering several regulations regarding the commercial taking of several pelagic shark species, all of which having been adversely impacted either as bycatch from longline fishing for tuna or by being specifically sought after. Included for discussion are thresher, hammerhead, mako, and blue sharks. (Read Oceana press release.)

“The EU plays an important role in shark fisheries in the Atlantic, and I’m glad to see them take this strong and positive stance to lead sustainable fishing for these species. If the rest of the ICCAT parties follow this lead, we will make a huge advancement in securing the future of these vulnerable animals,” declared Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Research for Oceana in Europe.

Since I have started this blog, I have watched grow as an international marine conservation organization with a particularly proactive stance: a growing force to be reckoned with. Let's wish them continued success.

No comments: