Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Britain supports moves to halt over-fishing of bluefin tuna

Britain has indicated its support for an international ban on the sale of bluefin tuna, the long term survival of which is threatened by over fishing. The docu-film The End of the Line, released earlier this year presented the bluefin as the starkest example of 21st Century over-fishing.

Seen as an iconic fish species, the bluefin is one of the fastest predators in the sea, moving at speeds of up to 40 miles an hour.  It is considered a highly valued delicacy in many parts of the world where a fully grown bluefin tuna can command up to $100,000 US (£60,800) at market. 

Monaco has drafted a proposal that the species be added to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the European Union is currently considering whether to add its support and act as co-sponsor to their call.  The European Commission has tabled a proposal for the species to be listed at the next meeting of CITES which takes place in Doha in March 2010.

Minister for Marine and Natural Environment, Huw Irranca-Davies said: “The UK supports the listing of bluefin tuna on Appendix I of CITES. This follows growing concern about the perilous state of bluefin tuna stock.  We encourage other Member States to support this proposal and we will be working through the EU to build support for CITES listing.  Action being taken at EU level to encourage more responsible fishing is essential to improve the state of the stock.”

Management of Atlantic tuna fisheries is currently undertaken by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas  (ICCAT).  Bluefin tuna will be discussed at the annual meeting to be held in Recife, Brazil in November 2009. ICCAT will have the opportunity to agree measures that will effectively conserve bluefin tuna stocks and the UK will be encouraging Contracting Parties to do the same.

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