Sunday, November 15, 2009

Recifed wisdom

So after ten days in Recife, Brazil, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has failed to make significant cuts to the tuna quota.

Certainly, the quota is a great deal lower than last year. But given that some in the industry itself had been arguing for either zero quotas or in four digits, and given the monumental scale of the illegal fish being landed, this is hardly a victory for the adherence to scientific advice. With the bluefin population in a state of collapse, some demonstration of serious concern about the recovery of the species was what was needed.

Instead, we see in ICCAT the usual serious concern about the state of the industry, and what levels of quota will support fishermen. As if biology is a matter for negotiation.

As the industry continues to shrink, year after year after year, we are all paying the price for the loss of this source of wealth from our oceans.

The world now looks towards the CITES meeting in Doha in March next year, when nations will discuss whether to ban the trade in bluefin because its population is in so much trouble.