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UN Rejects Export Ban on Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Posted March. 20, 2010 07:03,   


The United Nation yesterday overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to ban the export of the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna in wildlife meeting.

The U.S., which backed the proposal, expressed disappointment but Japan, the world’s largest tuna exporter, welcomed the result.

According to AFP, the proposal submitted by Morocco at a U.N. meeting in Doha on the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species was voted down 68-20, with 30 abstention votes.

Another proposal by Spain, the chair country of the European Union this year, to delay the ban to after May 2011 was also rejected, along with a bill on banning the trade of polar bear furs.

The population of the Atlantic bluefin tuna has plunged 80 percent over the last three to four decades. The U.S., Morocco and other countries have urged a ban on the export of the species, but exporters and importers are opposed.

Japan, which consumes 80 percent of the world’s Atlantic bluefin tuna, held a reception in Doha Wednesday. It told representatives from tuna-exporting countries that the ban will deal a serious blow to their economies.

In a statement, U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland said Japan’s commercial interests and inaction by international regulatory bodies such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas blocked the passage of the ban.

He said Washington will keep fighting to ensure that fisheries are managed in a sustainable manner so that future generations can see it return to health.

Environmentalists also criticized the vote. World Wildlife Fund, a leading nongovernmental organization for wildlife conservation and endangered species, said it will launch a boycott of tuna products.

Dr. Susan Lieberman, director of international policy for the Washington-based Pew Environmental Group, told the Associated Press, that it is “pretty irresponsible” of the governments to ignore scientists’ call to prevent the extinction of the species.