Commissioner Damanaki lifts fisheries department blockage22 February 2010
by eub2 -- last modified 22 February 2010
After months of deadlock, the European Commission has called on the EU to back the suspension of the international trade in bluefin tuna.
EU environment Commissioner Janez Potoc(nik put forward the proposal recommending the EU's support for the listing of bluefin tuna under appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The Commission's fisheries department, now led by incoming Commissioner Damanaki, has lifted its opposition to the move.
Greenpeace EU oceans policy director Saskia Richartz said: "We are encouraged by the fresh approach that Commissioner Damanaki appears to bring. With a major reform of EU fisheries policy on the horizon, we hope that this U-turn by the Commission's fisheries department on bluefin tuna is a sign of more to come. It's now or never for bluefin tuna and any setback at this point could threaten the survival of the species. The next step is to have EU countries confirm their support
for a trade ban."
However, the Commission proposal includes conditions for the entry into force of an international trade ban. In a joint press conference, Commissioners Potoc(nik and Damanaki explained that the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the responsible fisheries management body, should be given "one last chance" to act by the end of 2010.
"The Commission suggestion that ICCAT should be given one more chance is absurd. It's bad management led the species to collapse in the first place. Given that the EU agrees that a suspension of trade is justified, it should act now and not wait for others," said Richartz.
The CITES meeting will take place in Doha, Qatar, from 13 to 25 March. The EU is expected to adopt a formal position on bluefin tuna ahead of the CITES meeting in Doha on 13-25 March.
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