PARIS – An international conservation conference in Paris made progress Saturday on protecting sharks but didn’t do anything to save the Atlantic bluefin tuna, which has been severely overfished to feed the market for sushi in Japan, environmental groups said.
Delegates from 48 nations spent 11 days in Paris haggling over fishing quotas for the Atlantic and Mediterranean, poring over scientific data and pitting the demands of environmentalists against those of the fishing industry.
Conservation groups said delegates took steps in the right direction with moves to protect oceanic whitetip sharks and many hammerheads in the Atlantic, though they had hoped for more.
But WWF, Greenpeace, Oceana and the Pew Environment Group all strongly criticized the 2011 bluefin quotas set by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, which manages tuna in the Atlantic and Mediterranean as well as species that have traditionally been accidental catches for tuna fishermen.
Environmental groups had hoped to see bluefin fishing slashed or suspended.
The commission agreed to cut the bluefin fishing quota in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean from 13,500 to 12,900 metric tons annually – about a 4 percent reduction.
Sergi Tudela, head of WWF Mediterranean’s fisheries program, attacked the “measly quota reduction.”