CCA commends U.S. decision on bluefin tuna

NOAA Administrator announces support for strongest possible conservation measures

Posted on October 15, 2009

HOUSTON, TX – Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) commends an announcement by Dr. Jane Lubchenco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the United States will seek the strongest possible management measures for international conservation of Atlantic bluefin tuna. The announcement from NOAA also gave U.S. support to Monaco’s proposal to list Atlantic bluefin under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

“This is an important step in the right direction, but much work remains to ensure a recovery for bluefin,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of CCA’s National Government Relations Committee. “I am thrilled to see the Administration send a clear message to the international community that it cannot continue its failed history of management for such an important species. The conservation of bluefin tuna has to be addressed.”
In a Sept. 25 letter from CCA National Chairman Venable Proctor to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, CCA cited the failure of the international community to rein in harvest of bluefin tuna and urged the United States to proceed with an effort to list the Atlantic bluefin on Appendix I to CITES and prohibit the international trade in bluefin.
“It is time for the United States to demonstrate some leadership and insist that all international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna be halted, while hope for a recovery still remains,” Proctor said.
“Over the past 40 years, the international body that manages bluefin tuna, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), has overseen a 72 percent decline in the adult population of eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stock of bluefin tuna and an 82 percent decline in the adult population of the western Atlantic stock,” Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and NOAA Administrator, said in the statement. “A sustained lack of science-based management for the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stock of bluefin tuna and concerns about slow recovery in the west, have brought us to this point.”
Lubchenco calls for definitive action on bluefin at the November 2009 meeting of ICCAT, including the establishment of management measures that end overfishing, such as science-based quotas, stronger enforcement of the quotas and closures during spawning periods. She indicated that the United States will consider amending or withdrawing its support of a CITES listing depending on the outcome of that meeting.
CCA is the largest marine resource conservation group of its kind in the nation. With almost 100,000 members in 17 state chapters, CCA has been active in state, national and international fisheries management issues since 1977.
CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH