Nov. 29, 2010 AUSTRALIA– Bluefin tuna is Australia’s most valuable fin fish, but that didn’t stop the government from tightening fishing laws and listing the fish as “conservation dependent.” The fish was badly hit by a 20-year hidden overcatch by Japanese fishers and current populations are 4.7 percent of their previous size. Measures that put sustainability and conservation above shortsighted financial gain are a step in the right direction. Kudos to the Humane Society International for their determined campaign and to Environment Minister Tony Burke for acting on science rather than finance. Let’s hope it’s the shape of things to come internationally! – Global Animal

Sydney Morning Herald

Protection of the commercially prized but endangered southern bluefin tuna has been tightened in Australia, with the fish to be listed federally as ”conservation dependent”.

Environment Minister Tony Burke yesterday bowed to scientific advice after a long campaign by Humane Society International to tighten protection of the fish. Tuna fishers said it showed an appalling lack of diplomatic judgment.

The tuna is Australia’s most valuable fin fish, often worth thousands of dollars each in Japanese markets. Its stocks have been fished to as low as 4.7 per cent of their original size.

Listing allows for continued fishing, but gives the government more chance to intervene for recovery of the species.

The fish was badly hit by a 20-year hidden overcatch by Japanese fishers, uncovered in 2005 and described then by Australia as an ”almost unforgivable” fraud worth $6 billion to $8 billion.

http://m.smh.com.au/environment/bluefin-fishing-laws-tightened-20101124-187ej.html

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