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Eastern Pacific tuna hang in the balance
Date:10/30/2008

proving impossible in the IATTC. In the absence of consensus, the default is not a ban on fishing, but an unmanaged fishery. Regrettably for the fish and for the people and businesses that depend on them, the impending ecological and economic disaster of a tuna collapse will not wait for member nations to work out their differences.

Although some nations have opted for unilateral measures, these tend to be weak, are ineffective unless other nations are adopting complementary measures and undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the IATTC that for more than 50 years has managed Eastern Pacific tuna stocks. Some nations have proven particularly unwilling to negotiate in accordance with the objectives of the Commission and the intent of the majority, undermining the spirit of compromise and flexibility that must underpin any multi-national organization. Far from being punished for this behavior, these nations simply continue to fish in the absence of conservation measures.

Continued failure by the Commission to reach consensus and adopt effective management strategies may signal a need to consider alternative, more inclusive, mechanisms to protect tuna and other marine resources. A growing coalition of some of the world's most influential conservation, animal protection, fishing and research organizations have repeatedly urged the IATTC to agree on tuna management measures and to more effectively engage a broader range of stakeholders in the decision-making process. "We all bear the cost of mismanagement," noted Meghan Jeans, Ocean Conservancy's Pacific fish conservation manager. "Fish are a public resource and as global citizens, we share in both the benefit and the burden of protecting them. There is no free lunch."

Too often, conservation and management decisions are influenced by a small number of industry stakeholders that practically dictate the negotiating position of some member states. To ensure the health and sustainabili
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Contact: Scott Henderson
shenderson@conservation.org
703-717-2750
Conservation International
Source:Eurekalert

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