European Union's Bluefin Tuna Fishing Ban Blocked by Mediterranean Countries

BRUSSELS, Sept. 22 (UPI) — Strong opposition from Mediterranean countries has scuttled plans for a European Union ban on bluefin tuna fishing, officials said.

France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, and Cyprus balked Monday at a proposal from the European Commission to back a pause in the fishing of the species, which environmentalists say are being severely overfished to satisfy the demand from sushi lovers, the EUobserver reported.

France had earlier backed a temporary tuna fishing ban, but changed its stance in the face of opposition led by Spain and Malta. The EU executive had proposed that bluefin tuna be temporary included under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, thus giving it a chance to recover.

The EUobserver reported the proposal was initially tabled in July by Monaco at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the inter-governmental body responsible for the conservation of tuna, a move that was backed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as by Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Austria.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Animals, Conservation, Other
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