The 48 nation governing body that *tries* to manage open ocean fish (ICCAT) like the Atlantic Bluefin tuna has failed yet again. The disappointing details of this weekend's emergency meetings in Brazil can be found over at SaveTheBluefin.com. Evidently the new recommendation from ICCAT sets the 2010 quota for the Mediterranean and East Atlantic to 13,500 metric tons, and that is 13,500 too many. Even their own scientists recommended that a moratorium, even for a year, would be the only option at this point. Additional details include the purse seine fishery will get one month to fish (May 15 to June 15), cancellation of the of the 5 weather days and finally establishment *next year* of a 3 year rebuilding plan with a 60% probability of stock recovery and easily requiring another major quota reduction to somewhere between zero and 8,000 mt for 2011. In simple terms they agreed that killing more bluefin is still ok, and it's not.
Did you know that the commercial fleet in the European/Med is ~1300 boats. By any standard this is way too many, especially for a fish that is teetering on the brink of commercial extinction.However the USA did not lose any of it's quota, so kudos to Rebecca Lent at NOAA for securing this piece but I fear this came at the expense of supporting an Atlantic moratorium on taking bluefin.
Going forward, protecting the bluefin tuna as an endangered species under a CITES listing is the only answer. There is a meeting in March 2010 on this very issue and the public needs to speak. The big question now is where will the US and EC stand on CITES?
I anticipate a global outcry based on these kill rates. My network over at www.savethebluefin.com will mobilize with all it's might to help the push. These tuna are a gift to mankind. They are one of the most advanced ecological wonders of the world with powers and capabilities that are unfathomable to mankind. Who are we as a race to simply devastate them for a luxury food source. We simply do not have the right and the managers at the ICCAT meetings in Brazil this weekend stepped over the line.
I call a global rally to help save the bluefin once and for all. Email me at savethebluefintuna(at)gmail(dot)com for how you can help.
Blog about it, tweet about it, yell out of your front window because this is the front line in changing our ways as a global populace. We can do it, and the bluefin will not go down on my watch!