EIN Presswire, December 6, 2010
Atlantic Bluefin Boycott Called to Fill Void Left by Regulatory Body
By Dan Joling, The Associated Press
The international body charged with protecting the Atlantic bluefin tuna failed to do so at its recent meeting, so activists have taken matters into their own hands, launching a drive to alert consumers to boycott the product.
Bluefin tuna stocks have declined precipitously in recent years. In addition to quotas that appear too high to save the species, pirate-style blackmarket fishing has also helped deplete the numbers.
At its meeting in late November, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna made only a cosmetically lower change in quotas for 2011.
"Bluefin tuna are teetering on the brink of extinction. If regulators won't protect these magnificent fish, it's up to consumers and restaurants to eliminate the market demand, and that means refusing to eat, buy or serve this species," said Catherine Kilduff, a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned for Endangered Species Act protection for the Atlantic bluefin tuna earlier this year.
"The desperate plight of bluefin tuna has been well-known for years and, while some restaurants have rightly removed it from their menus, others continue to serve it. That has to stop if we're going to keep this fish from slipping into oblivion," Kilduff said.
The demand for bluefin tuna as a sushi delicacy has kept the price high and stiffened the resolve of commercial interests to maintain current catch levels, even though stocks have declined by more than 80 percent since 1970. BP's Gulf of Mexico oil disaster fouled bluefin spawning habitat, further endangering the species. Scientists estimate that 20 percent of juvenile bluefin in the area were killed.
The Pacific bluefin tuna is not yet listed as endangered but the National Marine Fisheries Service says the population is subject to overfishing.
The tuna boycott calls on consumers to sign a pledge not to eat bluefin or spend money at restaurants that serve it. It also urges chefs and restaurateurs to sign a pledge not to buy bluefin tuna or serve it at their establishments.
"There's a direct connection between consumer demand and the extinction crisis that the bluefin tuna faces today - and it's time that connection be broken," Kilduff said.
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