Thousands sign WWF petition urging EU to save bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean | WWF

Thousands sign WWF petition urging EU to save bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean

Posted on 21 November 2006
Bluefin tuna
Bluefin tuna
© M. San Felix

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Some 12,000 citizens from across the world – representing over 130 countries and territories – have signed a WWF petition urgently requesting the European Commission delegation at ICCAT in Croatia to support the scientifically recommended recovery plan needed to stop the imminent collapse of bluefin tuna stocks in the Mediterranean.

Today in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik – where governments are meeting to discuss the future of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean – the global conservation organization has presented the petition, on behalf of 12,000 concerned individuals, to the EU representative at ICCAT, Mr César Deben.

“Thousands of citizens are raising their voices to call for urgent measures to save Mediterranean bluefin tuna,” said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean. “WWF hopes the European Commission will not ignore this strong plea from citizens across the world.”

The role of the EU at ICCAT is critical in agreeing the strict recovery plan needed to save bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. Yet the European delegation is still resisting the necessary measures.

The 12,000 people who have signed the petition in the past fortnight join WWF in asking explicitly for the following urgent measures – which are fully in line with ICCAT’s own scientific committee recommendations:

• Extended seasonal closure from May through July to protect the vulnerable spawning tuna,
• Reduction of the maximum total fishing quota from the current 32,000 tonnes, which cannot be sustained by existing stocks, to 15,000 tonnes – based on the latest scientific advice,
• Increased minimum landing size to 30kg to allow the fish to reach sexual maturity,
• Improved observation and reporting of all fishing and farming activities to curb illegal activity.

“The European Commission is very pleased to see this big response from world citizens, especially in such a short time,” said Mr Deben on receiving the petition today in Dubrovnik. “We will take this into serious consideration in the framework of the ICCAT negotiations.”

“The EU is under even more pressure now to support the urgent and drastic meaures needed to save bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean – or it will be responsible for the collapse of this millennial fishery,” added Dr Tudela.

END NOTES:
• ICCAT is the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas – meeting now in Dubrovnik, Croatia until 26 November. One of the 42 Contracting Parties at ICCAT is the European Commission – representing all 25 EU Member States

• César Deben is Director of External Policy and Markets at the Directorate General for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs of the European Commission

For interviews, further information, or media material (position paper, reports, PRs, Q&A, photos, footage):
Gemma Parkes, WWF Mediterranean Communications Officer, t +39 346 387 3237, e gparkes@wwfmedpo.org

For more about the plight of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean:
www.panda.org/marine/tuna

Bluefin tuna
Bluefin tuna
© M. San Felix Enlarge