Southern Bluefin Tuna Talks Fail The Albatross
The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) today concluded its annual meeting in Adelaide having agreed to increase quota levels but failing to take steps necessary to put in place binding measures to protect seabirds, sharks, and other bycatch species, despite attempts by Humane Society International (HSI) to get these put in place. The meeting agreed to increase the quota in line with the Management Procedure for 2014 and 2015 but that further quotas for 2016 and 2017 should be reviewed following the proposed 2014 stock assessment.
“HSI is pleased that work is underway within the Commission to look at all sources of southern bluefin tuna mortality such as that from recreational fishing, but we are disappointed that in the meantime quotas continue to increase for this IUCN-listed critically endangered species,” HSI’s Alexia Wellbelove said.
“We expect that as a result of these quota increases, thousands of threatened seabirds will continue to be caught and killed in the southern bluefin tuna longline fisheries. This will continue until such time as binding conservation measures are agreed,” continued Ms Wellbelove. “The failure by all members of CCSBT to agree binding measures is seriously disappointing and will likely have significant impact on albatross and petrel species already threatened with extinction.”
“In fact, the increase in quota agreed means an additional 515 albatrosses will be killed on longlines in 2014 alone, and more in future years whilst bycatch mitigation measures fail to be binding. This is totally unacceptable and incredibly disappointing when clear progress towards this aim is desperately required and simple to achieve. HSI urges Commission members to redouble their efforts to focus on important issues of bycatch, before it is too late for many seabirds already threatened with extinction,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
HSI is available for comment on the outcomes of the CCSBT meeting.