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Brussels, 21 September 2009
Commission statement on the decision by Member States not to support Monaco's proposal to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas regrets the decision today by EU Member States not to give their support to a proposal to temporarily ban international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said that it was now up to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to assume its full re sponsibility to ensure the recovery of bluefin tuna. Now more than ever, every effort had to be made to give the ICCAT multiannual plan greater clout and to make it more effective, in line with scientific advice. ICCAT Members had to realise that the very future of this iconic stock depended on it.
The EU was asked by Monaco to co-sponsor a proposal to list the fish under Appendix I of CITES at a meeting of the Convention in March 2010, where the final decision will be taken. The European Commission had argued that the EU could offer its provisional support to Monaco's proposal, while waiting for further scientific evidence on the population status of Atlantic bluefin tuna and the outcome of the annual meeting of the ICCAT in November. However, at a meeting today EU Member States could not agree to back the proposal. The Commission has expressed its grave concerns about the state of stocks of the fish which are rapidly declining after decades of overfishing. The EU Member States will have an opportunity to review their position before the Convention's March meeting.