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    Press Statement from International and National Conservation, Animal
    Protection, Research and Recreational Fisheries Organizations
    Demanding Action from Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
    Who will look out for the future of tuna?WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2009) --

    The Inter-American Tropical Tuna
    Commission (IATTC) is the intergovernmental management authority comprised of
    16 member countries with the mandate to regulate fishing fleets to avoid overexploitation
    of tuna in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean. For the past six meetings
    over more than two years the IATTC has not taken a single decision to manage tuna
    populations. So tuna populations must be doing great, right? Wrong.
    Exactly the opposite is true. As member countries bicker over the details of how to
    avoid further depleting stocks, tuna is not recovering. And it is not just conservation
    groups that say so, but rather the IATTC’s own scientists. With increasing urgency at
    meeting after meeting these highly skilled fisheries experts have used some of the best
    fisheries information in existence as the basis for recommending a suite of urgently
    required specific, decisive actions to avoid over-fishing of tuna stocks.
    Things are not looking good for the fish, especially the region’s bigeye tuna. These
    highly prized fish may be on the same downward spiral that have taken bluefin tuna in
    the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean to the brink of economic extinction.
    And it’s not only the fish that are at risk. Tens of thousands of jobs in poor
    communities that dot the coasts of Latin America depend on tuna processing for their
    livelihoods. Fisheries operators and government representatives at the IATTC argue
    that adopting the recommended management actions would have dire economic
    consequences for these people, as well as tuna boat operators and their crews.
    Conservation, research and non-governmental fisheries organizations argue that either
    hard decisions are taken now or impacts on the fish and people dependent on marine
    resources will only get worse.
    So who will look after the future of tuna? If recent history is repeated at the IATTC
    meetings this week in La Jolla, California, it will not be the IATTC. Fortunately,
    market mechanisms may force the IATTC’s hand. A new consortium known as the
    International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is bringing together tuna
    processors, scientists and environmental non-governmental organizations to get
    behind the IATTC and other fisheries management organizations so they base
    management on scientific recommendations aimed to protect tuna stocks and reduce
    their impacts on non-target species such as dolphins, turtles, sharks and seabirds.
    If the IATTC does not act soon, it will fall to consumers to make their tuna purchases
    from responsible processors and brands that offer fish from areas that are acting to
    ensure that tuna populations stay healthy for the long term. This would be not only
    good business and good news for the fish, but also for the consumers that enjoy tuna
    that is responsibly captured. But for now, all eyes are on the IATTC.
    Media contacts:
    Gavin Gibbons, National Fisheries Institute, 703.752.8891, [email protected]
    Steve Ertel, World Wildlife Fund, 202.495.4562, [email protected]
    Scott Henderson, Conservation International, +593 98718157, [email protected]
    Ellen Peel, The Billfish Foundation, [email protected]
    Gladys Martinez, The Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA),
    +506.2283.7080, [email protected]
    Jilly McNaughton, Fauna & Flora International, +44 (0) 1223 579473, [email protected]
    Timothy McHugh, Ocean Conservancy, 202.351.0492, [email protected]
    Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community
    participation to protect the Earth’s richest regions of plant and animal diversity and
    demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. Founded in 1987, CI works
    in more than 40 countries on four continents to help people find economic alternatives without
    harming their natural environments. For more information about CI, visit
    WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half
    a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to
    delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt
    the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit to
    learn more.
    The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is the leading seafood industry advocate representing all
    aspects of the seafood community from water to table for over 60 years. For more information,
    please visit:
    The Billfish Foundation (TBF) is an international organization dedicated to the conservation of
    marlin, sailfish, spearfish and swordfish, which comprise the apex predators of the ocean’s
    pelagic ecosystems. With anglers and conservationist members in over 40 nations TBF has for
    over 20 years used research, education and advocacy to support the development of sustainable
    billfish management before national and international fisheries agencies and commissions. For
    more information, please visit
    The American Fishermen’s Research Foundation (AFRF) for over 35 years supporting research
    and education concerning albacore tuna and related fish species. A unique organization funded
    supported and supported by troll and baitboat fishermen and those who buy their catch in the
    U.S. Canada, and New Zealand. and
    The Natural Resources Defense Council’s purpose is to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants
    and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends. For more information, please visit
    The Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) is a non-profit environmental
    law organization that works in the Americas to strengthen people’s capacity to guarantee their
    individual and collective right to a healthy environment through the development,
    implementation, and effective enforcement of national and international laws. Among other
    issues, AIDA works to advance the sustainable use of marine resources and the protection of key
    ecosystems and endangered marine species. For more information, please visit: www.aidaamericas.
    The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization that works through
    science, law, and creative media to secure a future for all species, great or small, hovering on the
    brink of extinction. For more information, please visit
    Fauna & Flora International protects threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing
    solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and take account of human needs.
    Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide – mainly in the developing world – FFI saves
    species from extinction and habitats from destruction, while improving the livelihoods of local
    people. Founded in 1903, FFI is the world’s longest established international conservation body
    and a registered charity. For more information, please visit
    BirdLife International is a global Partnership of conservation organizations that strives to
    conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity. BirdLife Partners operate in over one
    hundred countries and territories worldwide. For more information, please visit:
    Malpelo Foundation promotes the protection and stewardship of marine and coastal areas in
    Colombia by supporting the sustainable use of natural resources. To achieve this goal the
    Malpelo Foundation promotes and supports the Colombian Government in the creation,
    expansion and protection of Marine Protected Areas, strengthening research, monitoring,
    education and enforcement of these areas. Malpelo Foundation promotes environmental
    awareness with different stakeholders to achieve integral and sustainable conservation. For
    more information, please visit:
    Ocean Conservancy promotes healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems and opposes practices that
    threaten ocean life and human life. Through research, education, and science-based advocacy,
    Ocean Conservancy informs, inspires, and empowers people to speak and act on behalf of the
    oceans. In all its work, Ocean Conservancy strives to be the world’s foremost advocate for the
    oceans. For more information, please visit:
    Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella