French President Supports Bluefin Tuna Fishing Ban

bluefin skeleton photo

Without a fishing ban, this may be as close as anyone gets to seeing an Atlantic bluefin tuna. Photo: Cas via flickr.

Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna are in trouble. As in gone in just a few years at current fishing rates. Despite last year's inaction on reducing quota levels, support for a ban on international trade in bluefin tuna is growing, with Monaco being the first nation to express support for such a move. French president Nicholas Sarkozy has added his nation's voice to the effort to have the fish listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species:Speaking at national stakeholder consultation on the future of France's fisheries, Sarkozy said,

Ours is the last generation with the ability to take action before it’s too late – we must protect marine resources now, in order to fish better in future. We owe this to fishermen, and we owe it to future generations.

This is a departure from sentiment expressed this time last year, when the French fisheries minister was upset about EU action to close bluefin tuna fishing early, and appeared to be acting to preserve short term gains over long term sustainability for fishermen.

In any case, Sarkozy's support for a ban is good news.

End of the Line for Bluefin Tuna?
WWF expressed support for Sarkozy:

WWF welcomes the Monaco initiative and the position of France, whose fleets have traditionally caught more bluefin tuna than any other country. We now urge France to put its words into action and be the first country to formally sign up to Monaco’s proposal for CITES Appendix I, which would ban international trade.

WWF also appeals to other range states to follow this lead and support the proposal to list Atlantic bluefin on the CITES convention – if they want to give bluefin tuna a break and see a healthy fishery again in years to come. This iconic species is simply at the end of its tether.

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