FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. We help developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, we have focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world’s poor and hungry people.

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) experts said in December evidence shows the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna meets the requirements for an international trade ban. The experts met as a panel to discuss trade regulations governing six commercially traded marine species and whether to recommend further action to protect them from overfishing. The FAO’s panel is highly influential in how countries vote during the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Countries with strong fisheries interests often rely on advice from the panel on how to vote during those meetings, meaning that the long-term survival of some endangered species often depends on the FAO panel’s recommendations. The FAO opened its statement saying that “a majority of the panel agreed that the available evidence supports the proposal listing under CITES Appendix I of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus)”, and later highlighted that “an Appendix I listing would be likely to reduce the bluefin catches from both component populations. This would assist to ensure that recent unsustainable catches in the east Atlantic and Mediterranean are reduced.” CITES, which is an international agreement between governments that works to ensure that international trade in wild species does not threaten their survival, normally offers its own scientific assessment on all the proposals it receives. However, in response to the concerns of larger fishing countries, it made an agreement with FAO that tasks the organisation with conducting its own technical assessment of proposals for commercially traded marine species. The recommendation from the FAO panel came after the scientific committee of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the regional fisheries management organization in charge of the Atlantic bluefin fishery, had already shown through their own analysis that the species meets the criteria for a ban on international trade. “Today’s comments from the UN backing stronger protection measures are a crucial contribution to efforts to save the Atlantic bluefin tuna,” said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean. “A listing on Appendix I of CITES, which would temporarily ban all international commercial trade, is the best option by far to ensure the recovery and long-term survival of Atlantic bluefin tuna, now severely overfished… We all want the same thing ultimately – a sustainable, thriving fishery and trade of this species, but to achieve that goal some drastic measures are necessary now to give the fish a break. WWF urges all CITES Contracting Parties to adopt a strong position on the Atlantic bluefin tuna listing proposal to ensure a positive vote for the temporary trade ban in Doha – and thus a chance to save this icon of the oceans.”

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) experts say evidence shows the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna meets the requirements for an international trade ban.

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