ICCAT`s Last Chance to Prove Capable of Controlling Fisheries
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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 email@example.com or María José Cornax, +34 639 040 296 firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright Business Wire 2009