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Tuna populations at risk
Date:6/19/2008

rvancy. "The health of the ocean environment, the long term sustainability of tuna stocks and the interests of many are being put at risk by the short-sighted self interest of a few," she added.

The IATTC is responsible for the conservation and management of fisheries for tunas and other species taken by tuna-fishing vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is comprised of 16 member countries. A fundamental problem underlying IATTC's failure to adopt effective science-based conservation measures is the inability of member states to negotiate measures agreed to by all.

Humane Society International's vice president Kitty Block remarked, "As it currently stands, there is every incentive to block consensus and none to reach it. If, instead, the fishery were shut down until consensus is reached, member countries would undoubtedly work harder to agree on effective management measures."

In 2007, representatives of the IATTC agreed to be more proactive in mitigating and preventing tuna stock declines and to undertake a comprehensive review of its performance. This review has yet to begin despite continuing stock declines.

"The IATTC once had an enviable track record of following scientific advice, conserving tuna populations and tackling major conservation issues like dolphin mortality," said Dr. Bill Fox, World Wildlife Fund vice president of fisheries. "It needs to recapture that spirit and dedication, perhaps using the new management ideas and methods it is exploring like property rights for fishermen."

"For conditions to improve, conservation groups, the tuna industry and seafood consumers need to cooperate and play a more effective role in promoting the adoption of responsible management measures," said Randi Thomas, vice president of sustainability at the National Fisheries Institute.


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Contact: Susan Bruce
Sbruce@conservation.org
703-341-2471
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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