Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuna Manifesto

It took 10-days for the officials at ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) to reach an agreement on how to combat illegal fishing. The key takeaway was to reduce the quotas - plain and simple. At the heart of this matter is the bluefin tuna. That is the red, delicious meat that most of you so greatly enjoy during your sushi dinners. This amazing fish goes for about $100,000 on the Japanese seafood market and is rapidly in danger as it continues to be over fished. Now, surely, after having a round table of intelligent environmentalists, fisherman, and representatives, that a more aggressive and potentially strategic approach would be devised. In the end, a simple quota to reduce from 13,500 tons to 12,900 tons in 2011 was the game plan.

Many including PEW Environment Group feel the quota is not enough. There is also some belief that ICCAT is simply selling out to the short-term interests of fisherman. “After years of observing ICCAT and countless opportunities to do the right thing, it is clear to us that the commission’s interests lie not in the sustainable harvesting of bluefin tuna but in pandering to short-term business interests," says Dr. Tudela - head of the WWF Mediterrean’s Fisheries Programme . "There have been no effective measures implemented here to deal with widespread illegal and unreported fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean.”

Many retailers, such as Carrefour, Ikea, Sodexo, famous sushi restaurant chains Itsu and Moshi Moshi have decided to take action themselves. These business are signing the Tuna Manifesto. This agreement states that a business will decide not to sell Atlantic bluefin tuna in any of its outlets around the world until the fisheries are being managed in a way that will allow the tuna to recover. While that waiting period unfolds, the ICCAT’s scientists will next assess bluefin tuna stocks in the East Atlantic in 2012, when they vow to address the uncertainties in data to ensure recommendations are clearer.

To see the full listing of companies that signed the manifesto, click here.

Sources: NPR News, WWF

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