Data loading...

Opinion: Bluefin On CITES List Shows Hypocrisy Of European Politicians

The managing director of the Spanish Tunamar,Mr. Jurgen Smet, expresses his opinion about the recent actions towards the bluefin tuna fishery by European politicians, who he calls hypocrites.

Mr. Smet believes that the inclusion of the species on CITES list along with many other alarming statements were caused by media hype of a situation of depletion that has been well-known and warned by scientists for many years.

“Reading the news column on your webpage I was surprised to see how many EU ministers were keen to jump on the train launched by the Prince of Monaco to ban the bluefin tuna trade and put the specie on the CITES lists on such a short notice.

About 7 years ago when I first came to the Bangkok tuna conference a wise man named Eugene Lapoint told a full conference room , and I remember his words as it was yesterday: Dear friends, rest assured that the NGO's will not rest until they manage to get tuna on the CITES lists. He repeated his warning several times at other conferences but it seems that we as an industry are not good listeners when it comes to good advice.

Eugene's words have proven right and during the March 2010 CITES meeting this goal of the NGO's could be achieved.

What upsets me more than the simple fact of the bad bluefin tuna management by ICCAT and especially the EU and some of our fishermen are the hypocrisy that is used by our dear politicians.

Where are we going if the Prince of a so called fiscal paradise that probably contributes more to CO emissions from V12 sport cars driving around his princedom steps up as the protector of the oceans and is joined in that act within 1 week by ministers craving for media coverage, who only 6 months ago approved a 29.000 MT quota for bluefin fishing AGAINST all scientific advice given to them? Worst than this situation is the fact that they give a completely wrong message to the consumers who cannot differentiate between tuna species and put more unnecessary pressure on an already struggling tuna industry.

For years the EU ministers have ignored the good advice that the scientific community has been shouting, but then community jobs and quotas had to be preserved and large subsidized fishing vessels had to be built. France, Italy and Spain have been leading this fight against the scientists.

Last week the UK minister went even further, it was not only bluefin tuna but also the Nobu restaurant chain that should be banned. That this great chef spends half of his time promoting the healthy benefits of consuming seafood has nothing to do with it. When a minister from a country where debt on public health care is in such a disaster one would expect he'd think twice before pronouncing such sentence but then again, if Sting and miss Paltrow say it is bad it must be true. After all, the movie "the end of the line" has shown us very clearly that all the good (real) stories are made in Hollywood.

So to all these politicians, thank you very much for decades of bad stock management, now pass the ill born baby to CITES and we can all go on with our business as usual. We all have sufficient examples on the failures of the entire CITES program but on paper it sounds so good. Much better than a row of arguments in the yearly ICCAT meetings.

And for the millions of children who will probably never taste bluefin tuna in their entire life, have yourself a chicken wrap with mayo”.