photo: Keith Ellenbogen
Even though the World Wildlife Fund recently warned that Atlantic bluefin tuna will be wiped out completely by 2012 if we don't halt the overfishing of it, we still can't seem to protect the species. By some accounts, eating the quickly diminishing tuna is now similar to feasting on a gorilla burger, but this didn't sway votes at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species' (CITES) . Yesterday, CITES voted against banning the international trade of bluefin tuna. CITES voted not to protect bluefin tuna. Sixty-eight countries voted against a ban, 30 abstained, and 20 voted for the ban. Canada and Japan were amongst the nay voters. This comes amidst repeated support of an all out ban from a host of scientists. Japan was the country lobbying hardest against the ban because they depend on the profits that the pricey tuna fetches annually, currently estimated at 7.2 billion US dollars, according to Mongabay. In fact, a single fish can sometimes sell for over 100,000 US dollars at the Tokyo Market. And the Economist wrote that the endangered delicacy was even served up the night before at the Japanese Embassy's reception. Now that hurts.
Though the US vowed to vote yes, Japan said that if the ban went into effect, the country would choose to ignore it. The western population of bluefin tuna has plummeted an astonishing 90 percent since 1975, according to WWF, and the vote to ban the international trade of the coveted mega-fish was a critical step to save the disappearing species.
"In a clear win by short-term economic interest over the long-term health of the ocean and the rebuilding of Atlantic bluefin tuna populations and fishery, CITES today voted to deny prohibition of the international trade of the species," said Oceana campaign director Dave Allison.
More on Bluefin Tuna:
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Ban Supported by Fishing Commission Scientists' Data
Save a Species: Stop Eating Bluefin Tuna (At Least for Awhile)
EU Says It Will Back Bluefin Tuna Trade Ban - And Then There Was Japan...