Esperanza featured on 'From Our Own Correspondent'

Posted by jossc — 22 February 2010 at 6:44pm - Comments

For those of you who missed Saturday's edition of one of Radio 4's most popular programmes, 'From Our Own Correspondent', you missed a great piece on the desperate plight of Pacific tuna. Focusing on overfishing by EU and Asian nations around the Cook Islands, it covered the story of our very own ship Esperanza busting a Japanese purse seining vessel which was fishing illegally in Cook Island waters.

You can listen to it here:

THANKS, from all the fish!

Posted by Willie — 12 February 2010 at 3:44pm - Comments

Tuna, halibut and eels are as happy as this stingray following this week's developments © Clicksy

It’s been a busy week, for the fish.

There was the news that the UK’s biggest seafood suppliers have decided to stop supplying European eel and North Atlantic halibut. Both of these species are already listed on the IUCN’s redlist, but the fact that suppliers and retailers are increasingly delisting such species is testament to ongoing campaigning by the likes of Greenpeace, the Marine Conservation Society, and Fish2Fork – making sure that they know that serving up endangered fish species is simply no longer acceptable.

Bluefin trade ban bandwagon

Posted by Willie — 8 February 2010 at 8:30pm - Comments

It’s like déjà vu, but hopefully this time it will be for real.

Several months ago the UK jumped eagerly on France ’s coat-tails by announcing it’s support for a trade ban on bluefin. Amidst the ups and downs since then our friends at Defra have been noticeably unforthcoming of late. Getting any straight answer out of them on bluefin was like setting up a black pudding factory on Mount Everest. That’s why we encouraged supporters to make sure Defra did the right thing and publicly supported a trade ban.

Finally, France supports trade ban on bluefin tuna

Posted by Willie — 4 February 2010 at 12:17pm - Comments

At last, France has officially announced support for an international trade ban on Atlantic bluefin. This is great news. It means that 23 out of the 27 EU countries now support the species being protected by CITES (the organisation which regulates trade in endangered species). It also means there is no longer any effective block to stop the EU reaching a common position (at a previous vote, it had been blocked by the Mediterranean countries).

Two of the main fishing nations, Italy and France are supporting the trade ban, and Italy has already declared it is suspending its own fishery. That is pretty momentous. It's as if the proverbial turkeys have just voted for Christmas by a landslide.

Are Italy and France backing down, and backing bluefin?

Posted by Willie — 31 January 2010 at 7:33pm - Comments

Here’s a bit of hot gossip, that I am typing from Paris , where I’m with a gaggle of Greenpeace campaigners at a summit on sustainable seafood.

It seems that something is stirring in the Mediterranean . Bluefin followers will be familiar with the ‘will-they/won’t-they?’ saga that surrounds the EU countries and supporting and international ban on Atlantic bluefin.

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.

Backing down on bluefin?

Posted by Willie — 16 December 2009 at 2:57pm - Comments

You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere someone decided to name a roller-coaster 'bluefin'. The ups, downs, twists, and turns are certainly hard to follow in this fish's political fortunes, and at the end it could end up making us all feel quite sick.

Post the farcical ICCAT meeting we have seen a follow-up meeting of ICCAT’s Pacific counterparts, whose jolly gathering in Tahiti showed a similar lack of ability and spine when it comes down to making useful or necessary decisions.

Subsidising extinction

Posted by Willie — 4 December 2009 at 11:39am - Comments

Bluefin tuna - sometimes you just can't believe how absurd the story gets.

News today from WWF and a Green MEP show that over an eight-year period the EU bluefin tuna fishing industry received subsidies totalling €34.5m. Yes folks, your tax helped fund the overfishing of a species now teetering on the very brink of extinction. A species that 21 out of 27 EU countries now think should be subject to an international trade ban.

Political flip-flops on bluefin?

Posted by Willie — 16 November 2009 at 11:36am - Comments

As ICCAT souvenirs, delegates will be packing their bags in Recife with a delightful polo shirt emblazoned with 'ICCAT' and a bluefin tuna, and a pair of flip-flops in Brazilian colours.

Somehow this is quite fitting.

The meeting has just come to a close, and the rushed final sessions have agreed as much as they could. In that haste, several things were put off to be considered again next year. Like the protection of endangered mako and porbeagle sharks, and measures to reduce the bycatch of seabirds and turtles. These sorts of delays are common in ICCAT when agreements can't be reached. But hey, why do today what you can put off until next year, right?

ICCAT: complying through gritted teeth

Posted by Willie — 15 November 2009 at 7:16pm - Comments

The vultures were literally circling overhead as we approached the ICCAT meeting venue this morning… so something is on its last legs.

So, with just one day of the ICCAT meeting left, it’s time to see what has been achieved here this week. The short answer is ‘not a lot’. Despite a week of meetings, including extra, lengthy, evening sessions, virtually nothing has been decided on or agreed yet. Decisions on quotas for fish like bluefin tuna, protection of sharks and seabirds, are being left until the last minute, and all need to be discussed on the last day.

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