Tag Archive for 'EU'
The Spanish version of The End of the Line, the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans, was launched by MarViva Foundation, Oceana Europe and renowned singer Miguel Bose in Madrid on 3rd February.
MarViva Founder and President, Erica Knie, speaks during the press conference presenting The End of the Line in Madrid, Spain. (From left to right), Knie, Oceana Europe Director Xavier Pastor, and artist Miguel Bose
The film examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish.
Bose is the narrator in the Spanish version of the documentary, directed by Rupert Murray and based on investigative journalist Charles Clover’s book of the same name.
During the presentation, MarViva and Oceana released a statement signed by a group of environmental organisations and international figures urging Spain to support the ban on the international trade of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) at the next Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that will be held in Doha (Qatar) in March.
Representatives of Greenpeace, Ecologistas en Acción, Pew Foundation and the government of the Balearic Islands, and Roberto Mielgo (the former tuna farmer turned whistleblower who is a protagonist of the film) were present to support the statement.
They highlighted the critical situation that the species is undergoing in the North Atlantic and the need for immediate action to ensure its future. Decades of overfishing, illegal fishing and management dominated by industry interests, have decimated the bluefin tuna spawning stock to levels below 15 per cent of the existing population before industrial fishing.
Negotiations are currently taking place in the heart of the EU for a common stance for the CITES meeting, which will be a determining factor for this species’ future. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee, in a resolution within the process framework, has already urged Member States to support Monaco’s proposal for a ban on international trade.
The signatories consider that Spain has the responsibility of acting to preserve bluefin tuna, and they urge the Spanish government to immediately adopt and promote the following measures:
Support for the inclusion of bluefin tuna in Appendix I of CITES
Bluefin tuna is disappearing. The decades of management by the Contracting Parties to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which include the EU, have been called an “international disgrace” [Report of the Independent Performance Review of ICCAT, 2008].
The parties have shown themselves to be incapable of adopting the necessary measures such as quotas in accordance with scientists’ advice or the closure of the fishery during the spawning period. CITES is currently the sole valid alternative to guarantee the future of this species.
On the other hand, the socio-economic considerations do not make sense in this context. The EU Member States must guarantee the fishing industry’s long-term viability. The administration’s current position only constitutes a guarantee that bluefin tuna fishing will cease to exist in the near future.
Spain, which currently holds the EU presidency and has the highest quota percentage among Member States, therefore has the responsibility of supporting this measure.
Creation of marine reserves in bluefin tuna spawning areas
The protection of bluefin tuna spawning areas in the Mediterranean through the creation of marine reserves is a necessary step to protect this species, starting with the area located to the south of the Balearic Islands where there is already sufficient scientific information that upholds the immediate need for protection.
The signatories include:
1. Palma Aquarium
2. PEW Foundation
3. Slow Food Spain
4. Slow Food Illes Balears
5. Greenpeace España
7. Ecologistas en Acción
9. Grup Balear de Ornitología (GOB) Mallorca
10. Grup Balear de Ornitología (GOB) Menorca
11. Grup Balear de Ornitología (GOB) Eivissa
12. Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente (IIDMA)
13. Amics de la Terra Balears
14. Amigos de la Tierra Spain
15. Centro de Estudios Rurales y de Agricultura Internacional (CERAI)
International Public figures:
1. Kofi Annan, former secretary general, United Nations
2. Javier Solana, former High Representative of the European Union for the Common
Foreign and Security Policy
3. Michael Douglas, actor
4. José María Figueres, former President of Costa Rica
5. Sybilla, designer
6. Ted Danson, actor
7. Elle MacPherson, model
8. Basilio Baltasar, Director, Fundación Santillana
9. Dr. Enric Sala, investigative scientist of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) y Ocean Fellow, National Geographic Society
10. Diego Hidalgo, President, Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE)
11. Jordi Bigas, journalist
12. Diego Azqueta, Honorary President, WATU Acción Indígena
13. Sean Cleary, CEO, Strategic Concepts
14. Colin and Livia Firth, actors
15. Jordi Bigas, environmental journalist
16. Víctor Viñuales, Director, Ecología y Desarrollo
17. Pedro Barbadillo, director
18. Rupert Murray, director, The End of the Line
19. George Duffield, producer, The End of the Line
20. Charles Clover, investigative journalist, author of The End of the Line
21. Valeria Golino, actress
22. Baron Eric De Rothschild, banker
23. Greta Scacchi, actress
24. Stephen Fry, actor
25. Dr. Carles Amengual i Vicens, Education Secretary, Liga Médico Homeopática Internacional
26. Yannick y Ben Jakober, artists
27. Irene Peukes, designer
28. Sandy Hemingway, President, Amigos de la Tierra Spain
29. Liliane Spendeler, Director, Áreas Ambientales, Amigos de la Tierra Spain
30. Yolanda Kakabadse, former President, IUCN, and Senior Advisor, Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano
31. Prof. Jacques Marcovitch, former President, Universidad de Sao Paulo
32. Jaume Tapies, chef and President, Relais & Chateaux
33. Musaed Al Saleh, Council member, Earth Council Geneva (ECG)
34. Jacques Perrin, director and producer
35. Tom Aikens, chef
36. Sophie Andrieu, author
37. Joanna Lumley, actress
38. Charles Dance, actor
39. Fiona Shaw, actress
40. Zac Goldsmith, environmental journalist
41. Damian Aspinall, entrepreneur
42. Ben Elliot, entrepreneur
43. Ben and Kate Goldsmith, entrepreneur and envionromentalists
44. Laura Bailey, actress
45. Alan Rickman, actor and director
46. Prince Urbano Barberini, actor
47. Richard E Grant, actor
48. Sophie Dahl, writer and model
49. Emilia Fox, actress
50. Amber Valletta, actress and model
A worldwide ban on the trade in the endangered bluefin tuna has moved a step closer after France pledged its support.
Bluefin tuna for sale at a fish market in Japan
In a significant move the French said they would support the listing of bluefin tuna under appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) but with conditions.
French environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo and fisheries minister Bruno Le Maire said they want an 18-month delay before the measures come into force. In return for its support France is also likely to seek an exclusive fishing zone for line-caught tuna as well as financial aid to retrain fishermen who are likely to be laid off.
This will be seen as a sop to the powerful French fishing lobby which has threatened blockades if the ban is imposed. The fishermen’s leaders are also seeking an urgent meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Continue reading ‘Bluefin tuna ban: France pledges support for CITES listing’
At last, France has officially announced support for an international trade ban on Atlantic bluefin. This is great news.
It means that 23 out of the 27 EU countries now support the species being protected by CITES (the organisation which regulates trade in endangered species). It also means there is no longer any effective block to stop the EU reaching a common position (at a previous vote, it had been blocked by the Mediterranean countries).
Two of the main fishing nations, Italy and France are supporting the trade ban, and Italy has already declared it is suspending its own fishery. That is pretty momentous. It’s as if the proverbial turkeys have just voted for Christmas by a landslide.
Wind back just a year, and this might all seem unthinkable. Yet President Sarkozy stood up on a podium last July and announced France was going to protect bluefin. The position in France has not exactly been as clear as consommé in the intervening months, and the political position seems to have flip-flopped more than a floundering fish on a foredeck. Continue reading ‘Por fin – France support trade ban on bluefin tuna’
Bluefin tuna - sometimes you just can’t believe how absurd the story gets.
Raul Romeva i Rueda and Charles Clover at ICCAT
News from WWF and a Green MEP show that over an eight-year period the EU bluefin tuna fishing industry received subsidies totalling €34.5m.
Yes folks, your tax helped fund the overfishing of a species now teetering on the very brink of extinction. A species that 21 out of 27 EU countries now think should be subject to an international trade ban.
Raül Romeva i Rueda, a Spanish Green MEP, received answers to parliamentary questions revealing the extent of subsidies which took place between 2000 and 2008.
Of the €34.5m total, some €33.5m was for the construction and modernisation of fishing vessels, and only a tiny proportion (€1m) for decommissioning boats.
These revelations come as the EU Commission and member states have to start readdressing their own thoughts on Atlantic bluefin. Last month’s ICCAT meeting in Brazil failed to close the fishery, and saw EU negotiators (led by France and Spain) pushing for the highest possible quotas.
This in itself was hypocrisy after three-quarters of EU member states had voted to support an international ban on the species - showing just how disproportionately powerful the lobby of the Mediterranean fishing nations is.
These new revelations make the whole EU bluefin story even more difficult to swallow, since the already lucrative trade in bluefin (which has escalated despite scientific warnings) has been made even more profitable with taxpayers’ money. And it’s not even as if the subsidies were targeted at supporting traditional or lower-impact methods of fishing - they also applied to the massive purse-seiners.
The beneficiaries of the money were Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain. In an amazing coincidence the six EU member states which blocked support for an international trade ban were Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain.
It really makes you wonder what the 21 other EU countries are getting out of this arrangement… and what exactly they will do next? The EU must come up with an agreed common position before the CITES meeting in March 2010.
Many countries like the UK have already publicly supported a full trade ban. This new illustration of just
how the countries blocking effective measures to protect this species are being subsidised to trash the species can surely only strengthen the case for such a ban.
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
Earlier this month, I went to Brussels for a private screening of our film, The End of the Line, and debated the sad state of Europe’s fisheries with Joe Borg, the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
Charles Clover, Tony Long of WWF and Joe Borg, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, debate Europe’s fisheries policy after a WWF screening of The End of the Line
The screening had been organised by WWF for members of the European Commission and country representatives ahead of the publication of the Green Paper on the reform of Europe’s fisheries policy last week.
I was surprised and impressed by two things. First, the openness and dedication with which Commissioner Borg trotted along and watched an 82-minute film and debated its conclusions, especially since these are even more damning about Europe’s management of its fish stocks than the Commission’s own Green Paper – which admits that 90 per cent of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished.
Continue reading ‘Nice reforms Mr Borg, but aren’t you missing something?’
With concern over bluefin tuna stocks growing among environmental groups, we round up the latest news at the start of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishing season.
A large tuna is caught by fishermen
Reuters report that a new WWF report says overfishing is set to wipe out bluefin tuna in three years.
The news agency says: “Overfishing will wipe out the breeding population of Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the ocean’s largest and fastest predators, in three years unless catches are dramatically reduced, conservation group WWF said.
“As European fishing fleets prepare to begin the two-month Mediterranean fishing season, WWF said its analysis showed the bluefin tuna that spawn - those aged four years and older - will have disappeared by 2012 at current rates.”
Sergi Tudela, head of fisheries at WWF Mediterranean, said: “For years people have been asking when the collapse of this fishery will happen, and now we have the answer.” Continue reading ‘Bluefin tuna fishing season starts in the Mediterranean’