View Full Version : Mediterranean Tuna Farming Out of Control, WWF Say

03-03-2004, 05:44 PM
GLAND, Switzerland, March 2, 2004 (ENS) - The booming Mediterranean tuna farming industry is growing at an unsustainable rate and threatens the survival of the highly endangered bluefin tuna, according to WWF. But the international conservation organization announced Monday that it has left a working group on sustainable tuna farming because it is putting fishing industry interests ahead of tuna conservation.

Tuna farming is done by catching wild tuna and fattening the fish in net cages, an industry that grew by close to 50 percent in the Mediterranean last year, WWF said. Driven by the Japanese market demand for sushi and sashimi, tuna farming has increased the amount of bluefin tuna caught from an already overexploited stock in the Mediterranean by a growing industrial fleet.

"Tuna farming is totally out of control in the Mediterranean," said Dr. Sergi Tudela, fisheries project coordinator at the WWF Mediterranean Program.

Mediterranean countries where tuna farms are found are Spain, Italy, Turkey, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia, Tunisia, and Libya. These farms produced some 21,000 tons of bluefin tuna in 2003.

Other countries, such as France, do not have tuna farms but are involved in the capture of tuna. Unlike aquaculture, where fish are bred and reared in captivity, tuna farming uses fish captured in the wild. Some fish caught for farming are juveniles that will not be able to reproduce in the wild and renew the wild stocks of this already threatened species.

Tudela said that WWF's concerns about the situation prompted it to quit a working group on sustainable tuna farming coordinated by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) - the two most important bodies for the regulation of fisheries in the Mediterranean.

"We have decided to quit this working group because it was clearly putting business interests ahead of the urgent need to conserve tuna stocks, and failed to listen to our concern," Tudela said. "This is very disappointing as WWF is a key actor in tackling the urgent problem of regulating tuna farming practices."

The working group on sustainable tuna farming was created in 2002, following a request by WWF to the General Fisheries Commission to set up a formal process to address the sustainability of tuna farming in the Mediterranean and to produce guidelines for its sustainable regulation.

Tuna farming is officially considered as a "post-harvesting" practice rather than one based on direct capture, and therefore it falls outside the existing controls of the GFCM or ICCAT.

The European Union is another target of criticism from the WWF, which says the EU is subsidizing both the expansion of tuna fishing fleets and the development of tuna farms.

The conservation organization believes the European Union is to blame for allowing tuna farms to benefit from aquaculture subsidies, arguing that tuna farming is not aquaculture - where fish are bred and reared in captivity - as it uses fish captured in the wild. That loophole must be closed, WWF says.

"The EU must stop subsidizing fishing fleets and tuna farms, and decide specific quotas for farming," said Paolo Guglielmi, head of the Marine Unit at the WWF Mediterranean Program. "Otherwise, wild bluefin tuna will disappear from the Mediterranean. Scientists estimate the current fishing rate to be two and a half times higher than that which is sustainable."

The economics of the issue present a significant challenge to conservationists - the market for bluefin tuna is extremely lucrative, as the fish is considered by some to be the world's most valuable.

04-03-2004, 11:46 AM
wot does WWF stand for. ?

I know it is World Wrestling Federation in cable Tv land, but here ?

Why quit the comittee, #putting ya head in the sand won't help. #Stay there and fight. woouuussies !

Further, the WWF say that the industry is putting money before conservation, WELL stupid, that's why they started it in the first place ffs.


04-03-2004, 12:04 PM
WWF....,World Wildlife Fund....a driving force behind RAP and the closure of 30% of the great barier reef marine park.

They pull out of the hard fights so they can concentrate on the easy ones...like the "next" round of fishing closures on the GBR.

04-03-2004, 01:13 PM
World Wrestling Federation

;D ;D ;D

04-03-2004, 01:42 PM
:-/ I thought that was what WWF stood for ....... Ya see the size of those tuna fishos? Gotta be a big bugger to wrestle a tuna. :D ;D