Stop the bluefin tuna massacre: Greenpeace calls for closure of the bluefin tuna fishery
Marrakech , Morocco, Monday, November 17th-- Greenpeace activists have today dumped some 5 tonnes of dead bluefin tuna
heads in front of the French Fisheries Ministry in Paris to protest the continued mismanagement of the Eastern Atlantic
and Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery that is leading to the commercial extinction of the species. The action was timed
to coincide with the opening of the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic
Tunas (ICCAT), in Marrakech.
France is currently holding the EU presidency and has been using it to shape the EU position in favour of the short term
interest of the fishing industry above the need to save the bluefin tuna stock from collapse. Tuna populations in the
Atlantic and Mediterranean fall under the 'management' of ICCAT, a body made up of government representation from 45
countries plus the European Community.
In 2006, following years of extremely high levels of pirate fishing, ICCAT agreed a bluefin tuna "recovery plan" that
set a 'Total Allowable Catch' of 29,500 tonnes for the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. ICCAT's own Scientific
Committee recommended a sustainable limit of 15,000 tonnes. (1) Since then the very same scientists have estimated that
bluefin tuna catches were about 61,000 tonnes in 2007.
"Time and tuna are running out," said Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner François Provost, who is attending the
"ICCAT has got it all so wrong - its so-called recovery plan is in tatters, the fishery is completely out of control and
spawning grounds are being emptied out every year when they should be protected."(2)
Greenpeace is demanding to all ICCAT Contracting Parties to close the bluefin tuna fishery immediately. It should not
Marine reserves have been established to protect all the species' spawning grounds;
Fishing capacity has decreased to sustainable levels;
A new management plan in strict compliance with the scientific advice has been adopted and is being properly enforced.
"Unless serious steps are taken at this week's meeting, those countries who are members to ICCAT will wear the blame for
managing the collapse of one of the most important and profitable fisheries of our time and the destruction of a way of
life for the fishermen of the region," said Sebastian Losada, Greenpeace Spain Oceans Campaigner, who is also attending
the Marrakech meeting.
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of fully protected marine reserves covering 40% of our oceans as an
essential way to protect our seas from the ravages of climate change, to restore the health of fish stocks and protect
ocean life from habitat destruction and collapse
Notes to Editors:
1) While scientists had recommended a maximum TAC of 15,000 t, the current plan approved a quota of 29,500 t in 2007,
28,500 t in 2008, 27,500 t in 2009 and 25,500 t in 2010.
2) A recently released performance review of ICCAT written by a panel of experts appointed by ICCAT itself states that
"the management by ICCAT CPCs of this bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean is widely seen as an international
disgrace." The panel itself recommends ICCAT "the suspension of fishing on bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and
Mediterranean until the CPCs fully comply with ICCAT recommendations on bluefin."
The panel consisted of Glenn Hurry, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and
the current Chairman of the WCPFC, Moritaka Hayashi, Professor (now emeritus) of International Law, Waseda University in
Japan, and Jean-Jacques Maguire, a well known and respected international fisheries scientist from Canada."
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and
conserve the environment and to promote peace. It comprises 28 independent national/regional offices in over 40
countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, as well as a co-ordinating body, Greenpeace