Tag Archives: extincion

Bluefin tuna still largely unprotected as conservation conference ends

29 Nov

article Guardian.co.uk

Environmental groups criticize ‘measly’ 4% reduction in fishing quota, which they say will do little to protect declining stocks which are also under threat from illegal fishing

Fisherman land a bluefin tuna Conservation groups had hoped to see bluefin tuna fishing quotas slashed or suspended, but the quota was reduced by a mere 4%. Photograph: Jeffrey L Rotman/Corbis

An international conservation conference in Paris made progress this Saturday on protecting sharks but didn’t do anything to save the Atlantic bluefin tuna, which has been severely overfished to feed the market for sushi in Japan, environmental groups said.

Delegates from 48 nations spent 11 days in Paris haggling over fishing quotas for the Atlantic and Mediterranean, poring over scientific data and pitting the demands of environmentalists against those of the fishing industry.

Conservation groups said delegates took steps in the right direction with moves to protect oceanic whitetip sharks and many hammerheads in the Atlantic, though they had hoped for more. Sharks were once an accidental catch for fishermen but have been increasingly targeted because of the growing market in Asia for their fins, an expensive delicacy used in soup.

WWF, Greenpeace, Oceana and the Pew Environment Group all strongly criticised the 2011 bluefin quotas set by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, which manages tuna in the Atlantic and Mediterranean as well as species that have traditionally been accidental catches for tuna fishermen.

Environmental groups had hoped to see bluefin fishing slashed or suspended, saying illegal fishing is rampant in the Mediterranean and that scientists don’t have good enough data to evaluate the problem.

The commission agreed to cut the bluefin fishing quota in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean from 13,500 to 12,900 metric tonnes annually about a 4% reduction. It also agreed on measures to try to improve enforcement of quotas on bluefin, prized for its tender red meat.

Sergi Tudela, head of WWF Mediterranean’s fisheries program, attacked the “measly quota reduction.” Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace oceans campaigner, complained that “the word ‘conservation’ should be removed from ICCAT’s name.”

Russell F Smith, representing the US delegation, said: “I think we made some progress. I wish we’d made more.”

Meanwhile, the CNPMEM French fishing industry union praised the decision, saying “reason prevailed.”

The international commission’s committee of scientists had said keeping the status quo was acceptable, but environmentalists say there is so much unreported fishing that doing so is irresponsible.

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Study shows: Oceans on brink of mass extinction

3 Sep

It’s not the first time scientists warn us for a coming mass extinction in the oceans. Massive decline of the big fishs, dying coralreefs and the destruction of the ocean floors. Again scientists give us a frighting warning about our oceans

from ABC science

Climate change, over-fishing and other human impacts have pushed the oceans to the brink of a mass extinction that could take tens of millions of years to recover from, an Australian scientist says. Dr John Alroy from Macquarie University in Sydney has used the fossil record of the ocean, dating back more than 500 million years, to study how major changes in marine animal groups take place.

His work is published today in the journal Science. In the course of the past 540 million years, marine animals have undergone several mass extinctions that saw dominant life forms suddenly replaced by others, he says. For example, about 250 million years ago, species of animals known as lamp shells, which had dominated sea-beds, were suddenly replaced by clams and snails.

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