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Monaco Wants Ban On Trade Of Bluefin Tuna

July 28, 2009

The increase in demand for bluefin tuna has resulted in a call from Monaco and CITES to place Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna on the world’s endangered species list.

Monaco and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) claim that the increased demand for bluefin tuna has caused the species’ population to decline in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during the past 10 years.

Monaco said the bluefin population in the west Atlantic has decreased by 83 percent from 1970 to 2007.

Meanwhile, stocks of the species in the Mediterranean have declined by more than 74 percent from 1957 to 2007.

“At this stage we believe that the time for CITES to intervene is long overdue,” Monaco said in a proposal.

The move by the country and the UN agency could cause bluefin tuna trade to become illegal.

Monaco cited the heightened demand for bluefin tuna by the sushi market in the US and Japan. The proposal seeks to make international trade of the fish illegal, while still allowing local fisheries to trade locally.

“This measure wouldn’t imply a ban on fisheries but it will eliminate the main cause of overfishing: high sushi and sashimi market demand of countries such as Japan or United States,” Maria Jose Cornax, a marine scientist at Oceana, told AFP.

AFP added that earlier this month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said his nation would back such a proposal even though it is opposed to fishing quotas being imposed by the European Union.

Germany, Britain and the Netherlands also support the proposal.

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