With the future of the bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic likely to be decided in Brussels this week, supporters of The End of the Line’s campaign to reform the management of Europe’s fisheries have written to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission asking him to save the tuna from commercial extinction.
As The Independent reported at the weekend there are moves by Japan and DG Mare, the marine and fisheries directorate of the European Commission, to undermine the ban on international trade in bluefin until stocks recover that has been proposed by France, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland.
We, The End of the Line campaign, are calling on President Barroso to show leadership. The letter we have sent is below and we shall add any more prominent signatures as they come in.
19 July 2009
Dear President Barroso
You may be aware that the film “The End of the Line” based on the book by British journalist and author, Charles Clover, has had a tremendous impact in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe following its general release in June this year.
The story is a simple one - the massive public policy failure of fisheries policies around the world and, in particular, highlighting the EU’s own lamentable Common Fisheries Policy. The film describes graphically the plight of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, a magnificent animal now sadly fished almost to the brink of extinction.
The film has alerted the public to the tragedy of the oceans. Your Commission has a chance to show the European public that you are able to take corrective action. On Wednesday 9th September, the Commission is expected to be presented with a choice on the fate of the bluefin tuna.
On the one side, the fate of this animal can continue to rest with the Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, ICCAT. On past evidence this will be a disaster.
The alternative is the option recently proposed by the Government of Monaco and supported inter alia by various Commission services (although not DG MARE apparently) as well as by several Member States.
This would involve the listing of the tuna as an endangered species under Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES.
The choice calls for your leadership, Mr President. You will be acutely aware that the European public would be outraged if an emblematic species like the bluefin tuna would go extinct on your watch.
We call on you and your Commission to do the right thing and give the tuna the absolute protection it deserves.
Colin and Livia Firth
Richard E Grant
Baron Eric De Rothschild
Prince Urbano Barberini