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Switzerland, 19 November 2010 - IWMC World Conservation Trust today urged member states at the ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) meeting to make further progress on the management of stocks of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna at its 17th Extraordinary Meeting in Paris.

Last year, ICCAT established a comprehensive plan to rebuild stocks of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and substantially lowered catch quotas. But animal rights groups persuaded some developed nations, including the United States, to support a listing of the species at CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Despite a huge media campaign that falsely claimed Atlantic Bluefin Tuna was on the brink of biological extinction, this move was overwhelmingly rejected by CITES member states. Now the campaign has once again shifted back to ICCAT.

In reality, the debate at ICCAT is between those who see tuna as a productive food resource and those who believe people should stop consuming fisheries altogether for ethical reasons. The continued existence of the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is not in doubt.

Jaques Berney, Executive Vice-President of IWMC World Conservation Trust, who is currently attending the ICCAT meeting, said: “It is important for the welfare of families all over the world that fish is widely available at reasonable prices and that the fisheries market is not corrupted by unwarranted prohibitions and restrictions. ICCAT delegates need to keep their eyes on the ball and not be drawn into the bogus debates and hidden agendas of the animal rights activists.
“Animal rights groups know that any suspension of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna fishing would signal the beginning of the end for tuna fisheries as a whole. This is why it is vital for ICCAT to succeed with its management initiative.”

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