. Earth Science News .

Tuna species urgently need protection: IUCN
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) July 7, 2011

French commissioner resists EU fish quota shake-up
Brussels (AFP) July 7, 2011 - An ambitious European Commission plan to replenish EU fish stocks within four years was under threat Thursday after a top EU official voiced deep reservations, EU sources said.

EU internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier, a former French agriculture minister, is objecting to "central parts" of a proposal to create a system for fishermen to trade quotas at the national level, an EU source said.

The idea has already upset two of Europe's biggest fishing states, France and Spain.

Barnier's spokeswoman said the commissioner wants to ensure that such a scheme will be "well controlled to avoid speculation," but she denied that he was blocking the plan.

"He wants to prevent the risk of an industrialisation and concentration of fishing at the expense of the human and economic balance of European coasts," said spokeswoman Chantal Hughes.

EU fishing commissioner Maria Damanaki is proposing to create national fishing quota trading markets that would allow fishermen to sell their allowable catch limits.

Her goal is to hack back the size of Europe's fishing fleet in order to have stocks delivering a maximum sustainable yield by 2015.

The reference organisation for the conservation status of Earth's animals and plants said for the first time Thursday that most species of tuna are urgently in need of protection.

Five of eight tuna species are now threatened or nearly threatened with extinction due to overfishing, according to the Red List of Threatened Species, compiled by the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The report is being released ahead of a July 11-15 meeting in La Jolla, California of the world's five regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs), intergovernmental groups set up to insure that tuna fisheries remain sustainable.

Southern bluefin tuna stocks have already crashed with little hope of recovery, resulting in a "critically endangered" status, the IUCN reported.

Atlantic bluefin -- with populations in both the east and west fished to the edge of viability -- is now officially "endangered."

All bluefin tuna species "are susceptible to collapse under continued excessive fishing pressure," said Ken Carpenter, a professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and the head of the IUCN's Marine Biodiversity Unit.

Other tuna species under sharp pressure from high-tech factory ships that comb international waters in search of ever-dwindling stocks include bigeye, classified as vulnerable, along with yellowfin and albacore, both ranked as "near threatened."

"This is the first time that fishery scientists, ichthyologists (fish specialists) and conservationists have come together to jointly produce an assessment of the threat facing a commercially important group of fishes," said Bruce Collette, a senior scientist at the US National Marine Fisheries Service and head of the IUCN's Tuna and Billfish Specialist Group.

All told, the new peer-reviewed classification, based on a study published Thursday in the US journal Science, assessed 61 species of tunas, bonitas, mackerels and billfishes, a group that includes swordfish and marlins.

Among billfishes, blue and white marlins are deemed vulnerable, while striped marlin has been classified as near-threatened.

Up to 90 percent of many large, open-water fish have been depleted by industrial-scale fishing over the last half-century, and marine scientists warn that continued harvesting could lead to irreversible declines of some species.

Because many are at the top of the food chain, their disappearance could also disrupt delicately balanced ecosystems.

In the case of tuna species, "the most efficient way to avoid collapse is to shut down the fisheries until stocks are rebuilt to healthy levels," the researchers concluded.

"Scientific findings should not be discarded in order to maintain short-term profit," they added, a clear jab at RFMOs that have consistently ignored the advice of their own scientific committees in the past.

Five main species of tuna make up the annual worldwide catch of 4.0 to 4.5 million tonnes.

Destined mainly for supermarket shelves, skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) accounts for 60 percent of the total.

Yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye (Thunnus obesus) comprise 24 and 10 percent of the global tuna market respectively.

Thunnus alalunga, better known as albacore, follows with five percent, while Atlantic Bluefin (Thunnus thynnus), highly prized in Japan for sashimi and sushi, is less than one percent.

Susan Lieberman, director of international policy for the Washington-based Pew Environment Group, welcomed the announcement.

"These results are yet another warning light that some species of tunas are dangerously over-exploited and others may be heading in that direction," she said.

"The study reinforces what marine conservationists have known for decades-that there are negative consequences to poor fisheries management. Around the world, tuna stocks are in serious decline, with too many boats chasing too few fish, along with widespread illegal fishing in several ocean areas. "

Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Reports says world tuna stocks threatened
Gland, Switzerland (UPI) Jul 7, 2011 - The first-ever global species assessment of stocks of tuna and billfish is a warning that some species are dangerously over-exploited, conservationists say.

The assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, headquartered in Glad, Switzerland, reinforces what marine conservationists have known for decades, that there are negative consequences to poor fisheries management, environmentalists said.

Susan Lieberman, director of International Policy for the Pew Environment Group, said her organization applauds the report.

"Pew welcomes this new and much needed global assessment of commercially and ecologically important species of tuna, swordfish and marlin," she said. "The analysis by the world's top scientific experts for these species evaluates the risk of extinction and highlights the combined impacts of a wide range of threats including overfishing, illegal fishing, habitat loss and pollution."

Tuna stocks are in serious decline around the world, with too many boats chasing too few fish and widespread illegal fishing in several ocean areas, the report said.

Larger tuna species such as bluefin and bigeye, which are longer-lived, slower to reproduce and economically more valuable, meet the IUCN criteria to be categorized as "threatened," it said.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Bahamas bans shark fishing
Miami (AFP) July 5, 2011
The Bahamas on Tuesday announced a ban on shark fishing, becoming the latest country to protect the ancient sea predator which is considered at risk due to demand for its fins in Chinese cuisine. The Atlantic Ocean archipelago said it was banning the commercial fishing of sharks in its 243,000 square miles (630,000 square kilometers) of water, along with the sale, import or export of shark p ... read more

Japan says plant clean-up will take decades

Japan groups alarmed by radioactive soil

Japan minister quits over gaffe in fresh blow to PM

Passer-by saves China toddler in 10-storey fall

High levels of caesium found in Fukushima beef

EU task force on raw materials sought

Apple fires back in patent war with Samsung

China accused of rushing bridge opening

US senators seek safeguards on Mekong dams

Tuna species urgently need protection: IUCN

Fewer bites for Philippine fishermen

Beijing halts sales of tainted bottled water

Russia to claim Arctic border expansion

Ocean currents speed melting of Antarctic ice

Greenland ice melts most in half-century: US

NASA to embark on last leg of Arctic sea study

EU considers modified crop bans

French oyster farmers return favour to Japan

Down-under digestive microbes could help lower methane gas from livestock

EU bans imports of Egyptian seeds

Chile volcano grounds flights in Argentina, Uruguay

Ash from Mount Etna closes Italian airport

Third hurricane of eastern Pacific season forms

Another Iceland volcano stirs, causing flooding: official

South Sudans wild hope for the future

Ivorian president names ex-rebel general as army head

DR. Congo colonel accused of mass rape surrenders: military

S. Sudan resources raise investor hopes

Surgeons implant first synthetic organ

Australia moves on head-covering laws

Clues to why 'they' all look alike

Finding showing human ancestor older than previously thought offers new insights into evolution

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. 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 Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement