The US Department of Interior has finally listened to us biologists and has accepted a proposal for consideration that would add the Atlantic and Bluefin tunas to the CITES Appendix-I list (CITES is an government entity that regulates the international trade on restricted species - for example, coral and saltwater fish for our hobby)! The Appendix-I list is highly regulated, and prohibits international and commercial trade. This means that tuna harvesting, selling, and shipping for the sushi industry in US waters (where most tuna are caught) for the Japanese sushi market (the largest buyer of tuna) will be outlawed.
WASHINGTON, DC- Today, Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, announced that the United States supports a proposal submitted by the principality of Monaco to list the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in Appendix I of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). CITES Appendix-I listing affords a species stringent protection and prohibits all international commercial trade. The fifteenth regular meeting of the CITES parties is scheduled for March 13-24, 2010 in Doha, Qatar (CoP15). Strickland will lead the United States’ delegation to CoP15, on behalf of the U.S. government.This is awesome news for the tuna species that have been grossly overfished in the last decade. This is the best news I've heard all day - let's hear it for the DOI! The full news release can be found here.
“We understand the dire situation with respect to Atlantic bluefin tuna, and the U.S. intends to vigorously support Monaco’s proposal at the upcoming CITES Conference,” Strickland said. “We greatly appreciate Monaco’s leadership to bring bluefin tuna conservation and management to the world’s attention.”
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Update: the bluefin tuna failed to make the endangered species list, almost certainly due to their value on the commercial market.