UN-backed experts propose ban in trading in endangered bluefin tuna

Photo: TANAKA Juuyoh

14 December 2009 – Trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna would be banned and trade in certain types of shark controlled if the recommendations of a United Nations-backed group of independent experts are accepted by the parties to an international treaty on endangered species.

The proposals by the advisory panel of experts convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will be submitted to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at its 15th Conference in Doha, Qatar, in March.

Following a six-day review, a majority of the 22 experts from 15 countries agreed that the available evidence supported the proposed listing of Atlantic bluefin tuna under CITES Appendix I, which calls for an outright ban on trade, although they failed to reach a consensus.

There was a consensus, however, that available evidence supported including Atlantic bluefin tuna on Appendix II, which entails controlled trading. The experts also determined that sufficient evidence existed to warrant placing the oceanic whitetip shark, Porbeagle, and Scalloped hammerhead shark on Appendix II.

CITES was established to protect wild species whose status is being directly affected by international trade, but it is not designed to protect species endangered for other reasons.

The panel was convened to evaluate submitted by various CITES parties and give independent and impartial recommendations based on the experts’ knowledge and on the scientific evidence presented in each proposal. This follows a formal process through which FAO channels advice from external fishery scientists to CITES.


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