ROME: The World Wildlife Fund welcomed on Thursday a proposal to ban international trade in endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna submitted by the Principality of Monaco, which recommends listing the species on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). That Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks are declining dramatically was confirmed last week by scientists for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) – the organization responsible for ensuring the sustainable commercial exploitation of this fish – at their annual meeting in Madrid, Spain.
“WWF applauds Monaco for officially proposing today a halt to international trade in this endangered and alarmingly overexploited species,” said Sergi Tudela, head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean.
“WWF now appeals to all CITES Contracting Parties to vote for the trade ban proposal. The current management regime is a total failure and is inadequate to guarantee the recovery of this iconic species – only a stop to global trade can give bluefin tuna the breather it so desperately needs.”
A CITES Appendix I listing would ban international commercial trade in wild Atlantic bluefin tuna.
In their report of Friday, the ICCAT scientists highlighted that the fishery had been plagued with serious underreporting and illegal fishing from the 1990s – undermining the conservation of the stock – and that further stock collapse is likely unless fishing mortality rates are substantially reduced in the near future.
Parallel to the CITES trade ban, WWF is calling on ICCAT to suspend fishing of Atlantic bluefin tuna when it meets 6-16 November in Recife, Brazil – with the ultimate goal of a sustainable fishery successfully managed by ICCAT in future.
The 175 CITES Contracting Parties will vote on the listing proposal when they next meet in Doha, Qatar, March 13-25, 2010, where a two-thirds majority will confirm the global trade ban. – The Daily Star