Robin des Bois Opening Statement

24 Nov 2010

Not the Same Old Tuna – #2
Plenary, The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas and its adjacent seas – ICCAT.
17th -27th November Paris

This is the first time that Robin des Bois has participated as an observer at the ICCAT debates. We would like to thank the secretary of the Regional Fisheries Management Organization and its member states’ for their current efforts and those in the future to prevent the irreversible decline of tuna and tuna like species.

All tuna species merit equal, fair and efficient consideration and all professional fishers have the right to exercise their profession and their invaluable know-how in safe and social working conditions conforming to all international maritime regulations.

To satisfy these two objectives, it is suitable to develop between coastal and neighbouring countries of the Gulf of Guinea, with the help of each pertinent entity, an active, administrative, logistic and pedagogic cooperation. This is to guarantee the future of three major commercial species yellowfin, skipjack and bigeye tuna. Information, uncertainties and concerns of the Scientific Committee and Contracting Parties should be taken seriously. The warning bell is ringing. In this field, each Contracting Party has to redouble its vigilance. On the essential issue of maritime safety, Robin des Bois hopes that the fishing-states in the Gulf of Guinea, and more broadly those off the coast of Africa and elsewhere, will employ directly or indirectly fishing ships and crews in compliance with the provisions laid out by IMO (International Maritime Organization) and the International Law of the Sea.

Concerning the bluefin tuna of the West Atlantic, the East Atlantic and the adjacent seas, it is highly desirable, and consistent with feed-back, that the possible effects of oil spills on the larval stage of fish be taken into consideration when assigning permits and fishing quotas. Concerning the Mediterranean Sea, we also believe that the negative impacts of soot, smoke and pollutants emitted by increasing forest fires need to be taken into account.

On a health and safety level, given the fact that tuna are regrouped in farms for months or even years* and are exclusively fed fatty fish such as herring, mackerel and sardine, – which is a substantial modification of the tunas’ diet – Robin des Bois is asking the EU to sample for PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) in tuna raised in Malta, Greece and Spain. PCBs are a persistent contaminant that concentrates in fats, and while ubiquitous, are particularly present in the waters of the Atlantic and Mediterranean off the European coast.

Lastly, noting a lack of attentiveness, the sometimes offhanded manner and the constant difficulties with which contracting parties communicate important information, when it is necessary Robin des Bois reaffirms the need for ICCAT and CITES to work together. This collaboration would of course be to maintain the scientific opinion to ICCAT while collaborating with CITES implementing its specific methods of control and investigation. This collaboration would contribute to denouncing the occurrence of illegally caught bluefin tuna on the global market. In its current state, and taking into account the current lack of application of ICCAT resolutions and recommendations, it is evident that the bluefin tuna of the West Atlantic and East Atlantic merit being listed in Appendix II if not Appendix I of CITES. It is also appropriate to note that bluefin tuna is considered by OSPAR (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic) as in decline and threatened.


*See document PA2-608 Greenpeace





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