18 Nov 2010:
EU Abandons Push for
Steep Reduction in Bluefin Tuna Quota
France, Spain, and other Mediterranean countries have forced the European Union to back off from supporting an ambitious plan to protect the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna
, a fish whose numbers in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean dropped 60 percent from 1997 to 2007 because of overfishing.
As international fisheries talks opened in Paris, the EU aborted plans to push for a 50-percent reduction in the annual quota of 13,500 metric tons in the Mediterranean, an aggressive target based on input from marine scientists. The officials will instead put more weight on the interests of local fishermen. While EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said it is not a position she agrees with, her commission “will respect its obligations as a negotiator on behalf of the European Union.” Europe’s reversal comes as officials from 48 nations gather for talks on setting quotas that protect the bluefin tuna, a fish whose meat is prized for use in sushi. Earlier this year, Japan led efforts to defeat a ban on the international trade of bluefin tuna
during a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
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