ICCAT`s Last Chance to Prove Capable of Controlling Fisheries

Thu Nov 5, 2009 4:42pm EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Oceana Calls for Moratorium on Bluefin Tuna and Improved Management for Sharks
RECIFE, Brazil--(Business Wire)--
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) will
meet in Recife, Brazil, next week to determine the future of commercially
valuable bluefin tuna, whose populations have plummeted over recent decades.
ICCAT is also expected to take up the issue of controlling shark catches and
finning as agreed upon at the Second Joint Meeting of Tuna Regional Fisheries
Management Organizations (RFMOs) earlier this year. 

ICCAT contracting parties are under close watch by many countries as a separate
proposal was submitted last month to ban international trade of bluefin tuna
under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES). 

BLUEFIN TUNA

Driven to the verge of collapse by the greed of the international market and
decades of mismanagement and illegal fishing, Atlantic bluefin tuna populations
are nearing the point of commercial extinction. Oceana calls on ICCAT to
immediately close the North Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery, the only measure that
can ensure the survival of this species. 

Oceana also strongly supports the inclusion of this species on Appendix 1 of
CITES to stop the main factor driving bluefin tuna to commercial extinction:
international trade. 

SHARKS

Sharks are caught by many ICCAT fleets, both as targeted and accidental catch,
and are killed mainly for their valuable fins. Oceana calls on ICCAT to regulate
sharks in its fisheriesby requiring all sharks to be landed with their fins
still naturally attached, prohibiting retention of endangered and particularly
vulnerable or depleted species, and putting catch limits on all other shark
species. 

"Sharks have had next to no management on an international level," said
Elizabeth Griffin, marine scientist at Oceana. "ICCAT should protect sharks
before they become the next bluefin tuna story." 

ICCAT should put particular emphasis on prohibiting retention of porbeagle and
thresher sharks, both of which are especially depleted and vulnerable, and in
placing catch limits on blue sharks and shortfin makos, the two most commonly
caught sharks in ICCAT fisheries. 

Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world`s oceans. Oceana has more than
300,000 members and e-activists in over 150 countries. For more information,
please visit www.Oceana.org.

Oceana
Elizabeth Griffin, +1 202 271 5645
egriffin@oceana.org
or
María José Cornax, +34 639 040 296
mcornax@oceana.org

Copyright Business Wire 2009

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