Two Tuna Fishing Representatives in the Australian Delegation to Critical Conservation Conference

Rumors are afoot that Australia’s delegation to the critical CITES meetings currently underway in Europe, that could decide the future of the endangered Northern Bluefin Tuna, includes two representatives from the Australian tuna industry.

The delegation is made up of 5 representatives from the Environment Department, two other bureaucrats including from the fisheries department, and then a representative of Tony’s Tuna International PTY LTD and a representative from the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association (ASBTIA).

The CITES conference is a United Nations conference on endangered species. Listing can help to increase protection and ban trade in endangered species. There is a push from European countries and the US to list the endangered northern bluefin tuna as CITES level I, which classifies the species as endangered and bans international trade. The Australian delegation is opposing this listing, seeking a lesser level of protection, CITES II, that suggest the species is at risk of becoming endangered and allows international trade under a permit system.

Australia is a major player in the southern bluefin tuna fishery, taking close to half of the legal catch of the species. Southern bluefin tuna is also an endangered species, with breeding stocks estimated to be at less than 10% of pre fishing levels.

The Australian Government has a lot of explaining to do if the tuna industry has representatives on their delegation at this critical international conference. Especially given tuna is only one species being considered for listing, the conference is also considering a range of other species such as corals and a number of terrestrial species.

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2 thoughts on “Two Tuna Fishing Representatives in the Australian Delegation to Critical Conservation Conference

  1. Northern Bluefin tuna are not endangered in northern areas of Australia, and are not targeted by professional fisherman, (it is more suited to pet food) but are great catching for amateurs. They are present in large schools in large numbers close to shore during the tropical winter, just in time for the sailfishing season.

    • Hi Tom, thanks for the comment. True, they are not endangered in the northern areas of Australia, but that’s because they live in the Northern Hemisphere. Southern Bluefin tuna are endangered, their breeding grounds are off the North of Australia and they are caught in large numbers off South Australia to be fattened up in pens and sold on the international market. You’d say these fishermen have some interest in not seeing a trade ban on Northern Bluefin Tuna. Not sure which tuna species you are refering to though.

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