A bluefin tuna marked for auction.
“Japan silenced the data to prevent the Commission from being pressured to protect the tuna,” Tudela added.
Between 6 and 16 November in Brazil, ICCAT delegates will decide whether or not they set forth new restrictions for the fishing of the species.
The next CITES conference is scheduled for March 2010.
The conservation organisation Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has claimed that a report authored by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) was kept quiet for more than one week due to pressure from Japan.
In said document, scientists concluded that the population of bluefin tuna could fall to less than 15 per cent of its original size, with which the species would fulfil the criterion to enter Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
In so doing, experts acknowledge the necessity to fix a prohibition on the international trade of bluefin tuna to preserve stocks, which are in decline.
The WWF, however, has affirmed that the report became public only in late October, although it had been ready 10 days before, Publico reports.
This delay was spurred by “the pressure exerted by Japan’s delegate,” which asked for the information to be kept quiet until the Commission’s next meeting on 9 November, revealed the director of the WWF Fishing Programme for the Mediterranean, Sergi Tudela.
Monday, November 02, 2009, 23:10 (GMT + 9)
A bluefin tuna marked for auction. (Photo: WWF)
By Analia Murias
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San Pedro de A, Malaga, Spain