U.N. group votes down tuna export ban

March 18, 2010 at 5:34 PM
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DOHA, Qatar, March 18 (UPI) -- A United Nations wildlife group meeting in Qatar voted Thursday against banning Atlantic bluefin tuna exports.

The Economist reported online the vote in Doha by member nations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was 68-20 against invoking the ban, with 30 abstentions. A witness told The Economist the vote came after Libya's representative contended the proposed bluefin ban was based on poor science and was "part of a conspiracy of developed countries."

It is unlikely the issue will be revisited before the meeting ends March 25, meaning it will be another three years before CITES members will take it up again, The Economist said.

A ban on the export of bluefin tuna, whose population researchers say has been decimated by about 85 percent by commercial fisheries, is opposed by Japan, Canada and many poor nations that depend on fishing economies, the BBC said

"The market for this fish is just too lucrative, and the pressure from fishing interests too great, for enough governments to support a truly sustainable future for the fish," Sue Lieberman of the Pew Environment Group told the BBC.

Glenn Sant of Traffic, an international wildlife trade monitoring organization, said the vote was "quite a blow" to efforts to implement harvesting levels that would allow for the recovery of bluefin populations.

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