Expatica news

16,000 join protest to save bluefin tuna

21 November 2008

MOROCCO – Almost 16,000 people from 149 countries have signed up to join numerous restaurants, retailers and chefs in boycotting Mediterranean bluefin tuna in a campaign to save the endangered fish species, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said Thursday.

WWF said it had presented a petition on behalf of 15,941 concerned individuals to top fishery decision-makers, meeting at an international conference in Marrakech, Morocco.

There, the 46 member countries of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) are meeting to decide on the future of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, which activists say is threatened by overfishing. The conference lasts until 24 November.

"Thousands of consumers from across the world are voting with their wallets by not buying or eating endangered Mediterranean bluefin tuna," said WWF’s Mediterranean branch head of fisheries, Sergi Tudela, in a statement issued in Rome.

WWF also noted that the list of chefs, restaurants and retailers around the world who have stopped serving and selling bluefin tuna is growing.

Such "trailblazers" included chain stores Auchan in France, Carrefour in Italy, Coop in Italy and Switzerland, ICA in Norway, Moshi Moshi in Britain, and Memento in Spain, WWF said.

They have been joined by German seafood processors Deutsche See and Gottfried Friedrichs, and French restaurant chain Elior among others, according to WWF.

"Bluefin tuna was one of the star items on our menu, but the critical situation of the stocks made me take it off the plates so that diners can keep enjoying it in years to come," Spanish celebrity chef Sergi Arola was quoted as saying in the statement.

"I believe it’s my duty to take care of the sustainability of a dish as well as its taste," added the chef.

Tudela noted that, if the ICCAT fail to act this week in Marrakech, support would grow for a move away from the attempt to control fishers, in favour of a full-blown trade ban to save the species from collapse.

[dpa / Expatica]