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Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is 'critically endangered', according to IUCN. (Photo: Oceana/Keith Ellenbogen)

'Fake' list of endangered tuna, complain fisheries organization

Click on the flag for more information about Spain SPAIN
Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 01:10 (GMT + 9)

The Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca) states the list released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which includes five types of tuna among endangered species, is "false."

In a new report, the environmental group demanded "urgent further protection" of the following tuna species, which are included in its "red list:"

  1. Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii): critically endangered;
  2. Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus): endangered;
  3. Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus): vulnerable;
  4. Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares): almost threatened;
  5. Bonito (Thunnus alalunga): almost Threatened.

The fishing industry quickly made their voices heard in response to the claims of IUCN.

Cepesca Secretary General, Javier Garat, lamented the "apocalyptic messages" spread on the state of fish stocks and of five species of tuna.

To Garat, certain species status is being generalised without specifying the actual situation in each area: Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic and Indian oceans, according to EFE agency.

The Secretary General of the National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (Anfaco-Cecopesca), Juan Manuel Vieites, said consumers can "have a complete guarantee" that Spanish cans are prepared with sustainably caught fishing resources.

IUCN study, published in the latest edition of the journal Science warns that the most threatened species have higher economic value.

According to Maria José Juan Jordá, study co-author and biologist at the University of A Coruña, the situation is "worrying" for the five tuna species mentioned.

"One of the major problems is the fleet overcapacity, all vessels expect to have their fishing quota but the resources are limited," explained the expert.

For Jordá, the solution is not to close the endangered species fishing season because of "the economic consequences the decision would have." Instead, the biologist considers it is appropriate to reduce the size of the tuna fishing fleet and the fishing season, Publico.es reported.

Meanwhile, Kent Carpenter, a professor at Old Dominion University, Head of Marine Biodiversity Unit of IUCN, and coauthor of the paper, warned: "If changes are not realized in the current fishing practices, the reserves of the western Atlantic bluefin tuna run the risk of collapsing considering the few signs of recovery shown after the significant reduction in the 1970's."

While Jean-Christophe Vié, deputy director of IUCN Global Species Programme, said: "The temporary closure of the tuna fishing season would only be a very necessary part of a recovery programme."

"To prevent illegal fishing, strong deterrents must be implemented. This study shows that an effective management is urgently needed," he concluded.

The publication of the controversial IUCN report comes shortly after a recent recommendation made by the Spanish Food Safety Agency (AESAN). The agency advised that 3 to 12 year-old children should not consume more than 50 grams of these products per week, and that pregnant women should avoid them in their diet due to the mercury content.

Related article:

AESAN firmly recommends limiting tuna and swordfish consumption

By Analia Murias
[email protected]



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