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Inopportune for Tuna

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas has wrapped up its 16th special meeting – without actually standing up for tuna conservation. The bluefin tuna is in a population freefall in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, but the ICCAT’s actions this year perpetuated the problems, rather than helping to deal with the crisis.

The catastrophic decline of bluefin tuna populations has been evident for quite some time, but there’s been next to no action to deal with the problem. It’s the stated purpose of the ICCAT to deal with this kind of crisis, but some members of the Commission have been blockading any effort to protect the fish.

Which countries on the ICCAT are interfering with bluefin tuna conservation? Don’t blame the United States. Yes, Congress has been too slow and too weak in confronting the bluefin crisis. However, the U.S. delegation to the ICCAT stood with other nations in support of serious restrictions on tuna fishing fleets.

Blame the European Union, along with other Mediterranean nations. They were the ones who insisted that bluefin tuna fishing operations continue as normal, at several times the levels that ICCAT’s own scientists recommended, even allowing fishing in tuna spawning grounds, as if there isn’t any problem.

It’s like Jim said earlier this afternoon – Europe is far from the progressive ideal that many American liberals suppose it to be.

So what can we do now?

Don’t buy tuna. Don’t cook tuna. Don’t eat tuna.

Boycott tuna. Reduce demand for tuna, and the tuna fishing fleets will shrink as tuna becomes less profitable. Don’t reward the tuna merchants with your money, and they’ll be less likely to hound the few remaining tuna into extinction.

No, it’s not a perfect solution, but for now, it’s the best we can do.

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