From: Ian Traynor,
Published March 19, 2010 06:43 AM

EU countries block bluefin tuna ban

Malta, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, France, and Greece block ban at Brussels meeting despite support from 21 EU governments.

The "Club Med" of southern European Union countries came under attack from environmentalists today for defying the campaign to ban trade in bluefin tuna, Japan's highly prized sushi fish, whose stocks are dwindling dangerously low.


A fortnight ago the European commission agreed, after weeks of argument, to back a proposal from Monaco to ban trade in bluefin tuna. If the EU had voted for the ban at an international forum next March, fishing for bluefin tuna would have been effectively outlawed, at least temporarily.

Despite optimism that the ban, supported by 21 EU governments, would go ahead, the move was blocked at a Brussels meeting late yesterday by Malta, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, France, and Greece.

"Deplorable," said Xavier Pastor, head of the Oceana fisheries conservation lobby group in Europe. "They are pushing tuna to the point of no return."

"Enough is enough," said Aaron McLoughlin, head of the WWF European marine programme. "It is once again large-scale Mediterranean fishing interests trying to gang up against the long-term survival of Atlantic bluefin tuna."

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