Good News For Bluefin Tuna: CITES Scientists Support International Trade Ban

bluefin tuna tokyo fishmarket photo

France, Italy & Spain account for half of the world's catch of bluefin, while Japan is the largest consumer. Photo: Stewart Butterfield via flickr.

In a move which could bode well for the future of endangered, but still being overfished, Atlantic bluefin tuna, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has backed a proposal to enact a ban on trade in bluefin. Here's what the head of CITES' scientific unit, David Morgan, told Reuters:

In our opinion, the criteria for including the species in appendix 1 are met and international commercial trade in bluefin tuna should be prohibited.

Atlantic Bluefin Gone in Three Years Without Ban
Though scientists have been saying for some time that current bluefin tuna catch quotas are unsustainable, with some estimates saying the species could collapse within a few years, until recently there has been opposition to a ban.

Monaco's Proposal Moving Forward
However, last year Monaco proposed a ban under CITES which received initial support from the UK and France. In the past France had been reluctant to support a ban due to potential impact on its fishing communities.

The 175 countries which are party to CITES will meet in the third week of March to take up and vote on this proposal, as well as the 39 others on the table.

Issues of enforcement aside--and provided closed-door lobbying doesn't derail support, as it has previously when it came to lowering quotas--this is decided good news for the protection of bluefin.

Bluefin Tuna
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