A New Year, and a new position from the UK government on bluefin?

Posted by Willie — 12 January 2010 at 6:36pm - Comments

Well, they may not be shouting about it, but it certainly looks that way. Ironically 2010 has been declared by the UN as 'International Year of Biodiversity', yet alarm bells are ringing for one iconic species already.

In a remarkable contrast from last summer, and autumn, when the UK Government were keen to tell us all how committed they were to saving the bluefin at every possible opportunity, our ministers have gone strangely silent on the issue since the ICCAT meeting in November.

To the casual observer, one might think that was because the ICCAT meeting delivered effective protection for Atlantic bluefin tuna – but it didn’t. No recovery plan was agreed, reports showed most countries failing in complying with measures they have already agreed to, and a quota of 13.5 thousand tonnes was set, despite ICCAT’s own scientists showing this level of fishing was too much.

In fact those same scientists managed to show that the decline in Atlantic bluefin numbers meant it qualified to be protected by a full trade ban under CITES.

So what exactly is going on?

Well, we’d like to know too. Defra aren't returning our calls, and have only just responded to a letter we sent in early December trying to ascertain whether they had backed off on bluefin. We got the response today. It’s not exactly inspiring, and specifically it does NOT say that the UK is backing an international trade ban on Atlantic tuna.

We’re hearing worrying rumours that countries like the UK want to 'give ICCAT a chance' (what? Again?!) and that there is hope of a compromise deal (yes, we saw how well that worked out in Copenhagen…).

So we urgently need your help. The UK government has pledged to protect bluefin, and we want to hold them to that. Any U-turn by the UK would be disastrous for the rest of the EU taking a strong stance, and in turn could derail the whole CITES process.

Please – get in touch with Defra and call on them to support Monaco’s proposal for an international trade ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna, through CITES.

Time is running out – so we need to make sure know we expect them to fulfil their promise on bluefin. After all, it can’t be that hard to protect an endangered species, surely?

Take action

Write to the fisheries minister asking for bluefin protection »

About Willie

Hi, I'm Willie, I work with Greenpeace on all things ocean-related

Twitter: @williemackenzie

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