From: WWF
Published November 20, 2008 08:07 AM

Thousands join bluefin tuna boycott

Marrakech, Morocco: Close to 16,000 citizens from 149 countries have signed up to join numerous restaurants, retailers and chefs in boycotting Mediterranean bluefin tuna — until stocks have recovered and the fishery is properly controlled and managed.

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WWF has presented the petition, on behalf of 15,941 concerned individuals, to top fisheries decision-makers today in Marrakech, Morrocco where the 46 Contracting Parties of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) are meeting to decide the future of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean.

“Thousands of consumers from across the world are voting with their wallets by not buying or eating endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna,” said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean. “WWF hopes ICCAT acts on this strong plea from global citizens.”

As increasing numbers of responsible consumers say no to bluefin, the list of chefs, restaurants and retailers around the world that have stopped serving and selling bluefin is also growing. The trailblazers — Auchan in France, Carrefour in Italy, Coop in Italy and Switzerland, ICA in Norway, Moshi Moshi in the UK, and Memento in Spain — have now been joined by many others in taking bluefin off their menus and shelves.

These are Benoît Delbasserue French chef; Casino French supermarket; Coop Norwegian supermarket; Deutsche See German processor; Elior French restaurant chain; Gottfried Friedrichs German processor; M&J UK seafood supplier; Migros Swiss supermarket; Relais du Parc French restaurant; Sergi Arola, Dario Barrio, Karel Bell — Spanish chefs; and over 50 restaurants in Monaco.

“Bluefin tuna was one of the star items on our menu, but the critical situation of the stocks made me take it off the plates so that diners can keep enjoying it in years to come,” said Sergi Arola, Spanish celebrity chef. “I believe it’s my duty to take care of the sustainability of a dish as well as its taste.”

“ICCAT members are under pressure from numerous countries, international institutions, scientists and even their own review to close this fishery and allow it to recover,” said Dr Tudela. “Now they are also coming under pressure from more and more of their own citizens, their noted chefs, their leading restaurants and their leading marketers.

"It is time for ICCAT to take note of this growing market aversion to the tuna slaughter and to finally follow its so-far hollow boast to act in accordance with the science.”

Dr Tudela noted that should ICCAT fail to act this week in Marrakech, support would grow for moving from attempting to control fishers to using a trade ban to save the species from collapse.

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