Running out of Tuna
Bluefin fishing ban rejected
Monday, April 5th, 2010
It is about the impending extinction of the bluefin tuna. On Thursday March 18 the proposal to ban bluefin tuna fishing was rejected by more than half of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It was proposed that there would be an Appendix I ban, meaning that all international trade would be banned for the bluefin tuna, hence no fishing or selling of the bluefin anymore. Many nations, however, were not willing to support a ban, because of their economic "need" for the fish. Japan, whose tuna consumption ranks highest, campaigned against the proposal.
What I don't understand is why, if your fishing economy depends primarily on a certain fish and that fish is near extinction, you would be against the proposal to ensure this fish's survival? I recognize that this particular tuna may have some sort of magical taste that the other tunas just don't have, but you can figure out a substitute for whatever the bluefin supplies. You can figure out a substitute. And, if you don't figure out that substitute now, then you'll just have to figure it out later, when the bluefin tuna doesn't exist anymore.
The International Commission for the Conservation of All Tunas (ICCAT) backed the proposal. ICCAT is supposed to regulate commercial fisheries and make sure that the number of tunas caught does not meet the danger level. ICCAT has not put out a quota for the bluefin tuna the past couple of years, meaning that fishermen were able to catch as many as they wanted. ICCAT was obviously not doing its job. But some nations, like Japan, feel that it is not necessary for CITES to ensure the conservation of tuna.
It doesn't matter whose job it is to conserve the bluefin tuna. What matters is that if we don't moderate the consumption now, then there will not be any bluefin tuna left to consume.
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