Sunday, September 27, 2009

Told you so!

Didn't I!

The Ozzies were clearly too naïvely optimistic: Trust the Europeans to eff it up at the very last minute!
The guys didn't even wait to look at the "latest assessment" by the ICCAT as originally announced but have already decided to drop the demand to have the critically endangered Northern Bluefin Tuna listed under CITES I.

The instigators of this turn-about: Malta and Spain!
And who's surprised!

Remember the Turbot War?
Having contributed to the demise of the Canadian Cod Fisheries and cleaned out the Atlantic (shocking study here!) in general and the Mediterranean in particular, the Spanish Fisheries are now poaching Tuna in the South Pacific. And in case you wondered why a Shark conservation blog would bother to rant about the plight of the Tuna, read this: yes Spain is now one of the principal suppliers of Shark fins! Sharks may have been mere bycatch once - but now, Spanish fishing boats are specifically targeting them and finning them "clandestinely", meaning that everybody knows but nobody does anything about it!

As to Malta, what can I say.
Meet George Pullicino (standing next to Maltese European Fisheries Commissioner Borg in this pic), the big (!) honcho in charge of Fisheries - and apparently, as pro-Fish-killing and anti-Conservation as they get!
On his "watch", Malta's fishing industry is progressing from fishy to fishier to outright brazen.

Talking of which, the latest scandalous development is George's blatant ignoring (as in deleting of e-mails, unopened) of the pleas by our friend Alex to stop the indiscriminate slaughter of the Med's last Angel Sharks, a genus which is protected under European Law.
Fortunately, the matter is likely to be resolved, as Alex now disposes of a letter by the European Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries stating that
...angel sharks are to be released whenever caught in all EU waters and may not be retained on board. This is clearly stated in Annex III (point 19) of our Fishing opportunities Regulation for 2009 (EC No 43/2009). The pictures you show are clearly an evidence of non compliance on this provision.
and signed by César Deben, Director - in the name of Borg!
It couldn't be more unequivocal than that!
Kudos to Alex! And shame on George!
We shall be watching!

But back to the Tuna.
The proposal by the Commission was defeated by an unholy alliance of Mediterranean Countries comprising the two ring leaders and Greece and Cyprus. And France, another one of the notorious quota violators who came back on their word! And Italy, equally guilty!
Yes that would be a paltry six nations, many of which culpable of multiple violations of current Law, blocking a proposal that is supported by a overwhelming majority of twenty-one!
Don't we just love Federalism!

I read that apparently, Monday's move postpones a decision on whether to place bluefin tuna on an endangered species list. EU environment ministers are now expected to reach a final position by the end of the year.

Promises promises.
We shall be watching!


Shark Diver said...


Let's let the Bluefin go the way of the Dodo.

It's a vicious circle of demise.

Fewer tuna drives market demand, resulting in...fewer tuna.

Does anyone really think these critters will survive the estimated 9 billion of us by 2020?

Horizon Charters Guadalupe Cage Diving said...

Of course the G20 folks could talk about this one for the next 5 years and make a bunch of fisheries regulations but the loopholes in each regulation will resemble Swiss Cheese by the time they are done.

Not to mention lack of enforcement, species decline to global warming, plastic waste, that 100,000 barrel and counting damaged oil rig off the coast of Australia.


The Sharkman said...

With reference to the Malta issue, I am DISGUSTED to see that they in fact supported and even worked harder than Spain to block the Tuna issue.

As for the Angel Sharks.. whilst I was down there visiting the Beqa Sharks, I asked a very good friend of mine, GREG NOWELL of Sharklab Malta, to work on the issue in my absence.

Greg came out with flying colours and upon my return, he informed me that when he showed that EU letter to Fisheries, they had no choice and the Angel Sharks are now protected in Malta.

DaShark said...

Excellent news Sharkman!

The way I see it, those Sharks were already protected by virtue of Malta being (alas for the Tuna) a member of the EU, but Fisheries just weren't doing their bloody job!

Kudos to Greg and you for holding those guys accountable!

The Sharkman said...

Yes ...that is exactly the way it was. Maltese fisheries were not doing their job!

My thanks goes out to Greg for his tireless work. He is a TRUE Shark Friend.