GUAM FISHERIES WATCH - NOAA Chief Warns: Stop Overfishing Our Bluefin Tuna!
Written by Jeff Marchesseault, Guam News Factor Staff Writer
Thursday, 12 November 2009 13:58
GUAM - Unless fishermen cease the illegal, unreported and unregulated overfishing of bluefin tuna, we aren't going to have any left to eat.
That's the word from U.S. Commerce Under Secretary and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco as the international body that manages Atlantic bluefin meets this week in Brazil.
NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is tasked with conserving and managing America's coastal and marine resources.
Although this week's meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) focuses on the species of bluefin tuna that inhabits the other great ocean, it can't be long before Pacific bluefin is back in the spotlight again.
According to Wikipedia:
Pacific Bluefin Tuna are overfished throughout the world. They are hooked on long lines or illegally netted where they swim, and many young bluefins are captured before they reproduce. Creating effective fishing policies for bluefin tuna is difficult because they are highly mobile and swim through the territorial waters of many different nations. Data about their movements and high levels of international cooperation are needed to ensure sustainable bluefin tuna populations.
Pacific bluefin tuna spawn in the Western Pacific between Okinawa and the Philippines and probably the Sea of Japan, then migrate over 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) to the Eastern Pacific, and eventually return to their birth waters to spawn again.
Here is the latest bluefin tuna news from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
United States Pushes For Strong Measures To Protect Bluefin Tuna
November 9, 2009 - Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator issued the following statement urging the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to heed the scientific advice and adopt measures that will end overfishing in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean and put bluefin tuna on the path to recovery. The ICCAT is scheduled to meet this week in Brazil.
“As a member of ICCAT, the United States has a responsibility to work with other countries to end illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and implement strong management measures that will end overfishing and help rebuild the stocks. “The status quo with respect to eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin is neither sustainable nor acceptable.
Conservation of this species depends on science-based management and effective compliance with the rules on both sides of the ocean. “I believe that to be most effective, the long-term management of the species must be led by ICCAT. I urge ICCAT to do the right thing – follow the science and implement strong new measures to protect the bluefin. I look to ICCAT for strong and definitive action at this week’s meeting.”
Background: ICCAT, an international body of 47 nations and the European Community, is responsible for the management of Atlantic bluefin tuna. The United States has repeatedly urged ICCAT to heed the scientific advice and adopt measures that will end overfishing in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean and put bluefin tuna on the path to recovery. This includes measures setting responsible, science-based quotas, stronger enforcement of those quotas, and closures during spawning periods.
The United States delegation to ICCAT travels to Brazil this week for the body’s annual meeting. This year, as in years past, the United States is seeking the strongest possible management for the conservation of Atlantic bluefin tuna. On October 14, the United States announced its support of Monaco’s proposal to list Atlantic bluefin tuna on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to prohibit international trade of the species.
The final U.S. decision on whether to vote for Monaco’s proposal at the 2010 CITES Conference of Parties will take into account whether or not ICCAT adopts strong management and compliance measures at this week's meeting. For further background, please see October 14 release.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.