Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
Study: Tuna black market worth billions of dollars
Washington (AFP) Nov 7, 2010
The craze for sushi has fueled a black market in tuna worth billions of dollars, as governments collaborate with the industry despite fears for the species' survival, an investigation found.
A seven-month probe by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that fishermen have willfully violated official quotas in order to supply the lucrative tuna market, which is dominated by Japan.
The investigation covered 10 nations but found particular violations in France, where it said the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has joined forces with the tuna industry to doctor catch numbers.
"Everyone cheated," said Roger Del Ponte, one of the six French fishing captains facing criminal charges.
"It's like driving down the road. If I know there are no police, I'm going to speed," he said in the report.
The journalists said the black market in Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna was worth at least four billion dollars between 1998 and 2007. The calculation came from comparing the estimated total catch of tuna with official quotas and then using rates at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market.
Global fears over tuna stocks emerged in 2007 when France declared it had caught nearly 10,000 tons, almost double its quota allowed under the International Commission for the Conservation of the Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), a regulatory body.
"We found that the system failed at every point. It failed in that vessels were overfishing and that officials were turning a blind eye to that overfishing for years," said Kate Willson, a reporter on the investigation.
Facing an outcry, ICCAT came up with a new system in 2008 to keep track of the trade. But the study said the database was ineffectual and the tuna industry was heading to areas with even less oversight such as North Africa.
Willson said the French ministry declined repeated requests for comment.
"There is no way to know if the situation is getting better. We're supposed to trust them that they are getting better," she said.
ICCAT found that spawning stock of Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna has tumbled by nearly 75 percent in the past four decades, with more than half of the loss between 1997 and 2007.
Jean-Marc Fromentin, a marine biologist on ICCAT's scientific body, said that experts had recommended a cut in fishing quotas as long ago as the late 1990s.
"If the countries had listened, then there would have been no risk of collapse," he said in the report.
"But because they didn't pay attention, and they didn't control (catch limits), then after a few years the situation became really critical and we began to speak about the risk of collapse," he said.
ICCAT meets in Paris from November 17 to 27, ahead of which European Union fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki has called for a substantial reduction in the bloc's tuna catch quota of 13,500 tons.
France has opposed the quota, arguing that tuna stocks will be sustainable by 2022. Diplomats say that France is backed by other Mediterranean countries including Greece, Italy and Spain, while Britain is the only country clearly to back Damanaki's position.
A March meeting in Qatar soundly defeated a proposal backed by the United States and European Union to ban the international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna after an aggressive lobbying effort by Japan.
The study said that Japan has driven the demand for the Atlantic bluefin, with the industry taking off in the 1980s when the Japanese developed a passion for "toro," the fatty belly of tuna.
But after years of financial backing for the industry, Japan has tried to distance itself from perceived excesses, the study said. Last year it temporarily halted imports from Tunisia due to a lack of required documentation on the catch.
The study traced industry excesses to the mid-1990s, when Japanese companies helped set up tuna "ranches" in which fishermen would take their catches to underwater cages to fatten them up.
With little oversight, the industry began to "launder" tuna by misreporting weight and country of origin, the study said.
"For the fish that are over quota, you have to find a solution," a former manager at a Spanish tuna ranch said in the report. "You either trade it illegally or keep it until the next season."
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
Barcelona, Spain (SPX) Nov 05, 2010
The Atlantic Ocean circulation (termed meridional overturning circulation, MOC) is an important component of the climate system. Warm currents, such as the Gulf Stream, transport energy from the tropics to the subpolar North Atlantic and influence regional weather and climate patterns. Once they arrive in the North the currents cool, their waters sink and with them they transfer carbon fro ... read more
Storm deaths, cholera heap more misery on Haiti|
A catalogue of deadly disasters in Indonesia
UN warns of aid shortfall for Pakistan flood victims
UN raises winter funds alarm in flood-hit Pakistan
Amazon increases revenue split for newspapers, magazines
Moving Holograms: From Science Fiction To Reality
US e-book sales near one billion dollars in 2010: Forrester
Small Materials Poised For Big Impact In Construction
River Flows Across US Altered By Land And Water Management
Long-Range Undersea Robot Goes The Distance
Study: Tuna black market worth billions of dollars
Time For A Rain Dance
Russian Drifting Polar Station SP-38 Opens In Chukchi Sea
Increased Arctic Shipping Could Accelerate Climate Change
Is The Ice At The South Pole Melting
End Of Ice Age Holds Clues About Carbon Dioxide Patterns
China deal boosts Scottish whisky industry
Climate change hurting China's grain crop: report
Expanding Croplands Chipping Away At World's Carbon Stocks
Scientists Find That Evergreen Agriculture Boosts Crop Yields
Volcano travel chaos as ash grounds Indonesia flights
Flights resume to Indonesia after volcano chaos
Volcanoes Have Shifted Asian Rainfall
Storm-battered Haiti cleans up Tomas wreckage
Ethiopian housemaid trades broom for song stardom in Iraq
Zambia court bails Chinese pair after mine shooting
Tanzanians vote as ruling party predicts landslide win
Nani Croze - East Africa's answer to Gaudi
Brain Trumps Hand In Stone Age Tool Study
Oldest Ground-Edge Implement Discovered In Northern Australia
New Statistical Model Moves Human Evolution Back Three Million Years
Stone Age Humans Needed Bigger Brains For Better Tool Design
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|