TURNING POINT FOR SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA? BUT DO NOT FORGET THE ALBATROSS.
An international meeting beginning in Sydney tomorrow will determine whether to rescue highly endangered Southern Bluefin Tuna from the terrible mismanagement of its past.
Delegates from the Governments of Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan will sit down at a special meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) to argue over the design of a new Management Procedure that will bind future quotas to scientific advice.
Until now Southern Bluefin Tuna quotas have been set by political negotiation rather than adhering to scientific advice, with disastrous consequences for the species.
“Southern Bluefin Tuna has been reduced to as little as 5% of its pre-exploitation biomass”, said Alexia Wellbelove of Humane Society International. “At such perilously low levels Humane Society International does not support fishing for the species. However, politics and economics dictate otherwise and so, if the fish is to be commercially exploited, its management must be as precautionary as possible.”
HSI will be at the meeting in Sydney to argue for a Management Procedure that is tuned to restore Southern Bluefin Tuna to healthy population levels as quickly as possible.
HSI will also be reminding delegates that they are failing to meet international legal obligations to cooperate to protect the endangered albatross that drown in their thousands on the hooks and longlines set to catch Southern Bluefin Tuna. Sharks and turtles are similar casualties.
“Albatross, shark and turtle mortality is an urgent conservation problem that the Commission largely ignores,” said Ms Wellbelove. “HSI will be pushing the Commission to adopt immediate mandatory measures to prevent albatross, turtle and sharks dying along with the tuna.”