Thursday, September 24, 2009

European Union Scorecard: 1 for sharks, 1 against tuna

Following up on two recent posts about the CITES status for Bluefin Tuna and Sharks, there's good news and bad news.

The good news: The European Union countries have agreed on a German proposal to submit two species of shark to CITES for consideration as an Appendix II listed endangered species. The two species are Porbeagle sharks, a deep water species in the North Atlantic that reaches a length of 10 feet; and the Spurdog, or Spiny Dogfish, a small 3-foot variety. Both have been heavily fished for their meat to satisfy European market demand and their populations have declined worldwide. An Appendix II listing would require close fishery management of their catches by all CITES member nations.

The bad news: The EU countries also rejected support of a Monaco proposal to place the Bluefin Tuna in an Appendix I status. This would ban all international trade in this species. The proposal was strongly opposed by Mediterranean countries, who have substantial tuna fleets and would, it seems, prefer to continue supporting those fleets with fishery management policies that have, to date, failed to produce a sustainable population. In fact, at today's catch rate, the species is bound for extinction in the eyes of many scientific and research experts.

Perhaps the conservation-minded Monaco will still continue with their proposal to protect Bluefin Tuna, when the CITES members meet in March of next year.

No comments: