Friday

24th May 2019

Mediterranean countries block tuna fishing ban

The European Union has abandoned its plans to push for a temporary ban on fishing for bluefin tuna, loved by sushi fans but severely overfished, after strong opposition from Mediterranean countries.

National experts from EU member states met on Monday (21 September) to consider a proposal from the European Commission to back a pause in the fishing of the species, but France, Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, and Cyprus baulked at the suggestion, even though France had earlier said it would back the plan.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Bluefin tuna is severely overfished (Photo: Jim Barter)

As a result of the obstruction, led by Spain and Malta, the officials were unable to reach the necessary majority to adopt the commission's recommendation.

The EU executive on 9 September had proposed that the bloc co-sponsor alongside non-EU country Monaco a temporary suspension on international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The ban through a CITES listing would give the fish a chance to recover, the commission argued.

The proposal to list the tuna as an endangered species was originally tabled by Monaco in July at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the inter-governmental body responsible for the conservation of tuna.

At the time, French President Nicolas Sarkozy backed Monaco's suggestion alongside a number of other EU states, including the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Austria.

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.

Conservationists were frustrated by the reversal.

"The blinkered attitude of Mediterranean governments would drive bluefin tuna to extinction and leave fishermen with nothing to fish in just a few years," said Saskia Richartz, a campaigner with Greenpeace in Brussels.

"But countries like Malta and Spain are increasingly isolated and there is a growing will among EU environment ministers to save this beautiful animal," she added.

EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas issued a statement in which he said he "regrets the decision".

"The commission has expressed its grave concerns about the state of stocks of the fish, which are rapidly declining after decades of overfishing," the statement continued.

Use 25% of budget on climate change, urge EU states

A discussion document by eight EU countries is piling on the pressure for the EU to do more to fight climate change. But their demands are likely to meet German resistance as leaders gather in Romania to discuss Europe's future.

Single EU railway signalling system faces delays

'A reality check shows that we are already falling a little bit behind in the first few years,' said the new coordinator for the European rail traffic management system (ERTMS).

News in Brief

  1. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  2. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  3. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  4. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  5. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  6. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  7. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  8. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  2. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  3. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?
  4. Italy train row exposes competing views of EU
  5. Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll
  6. No usage data kept for EU parliament's 'Citizens' App'
  7. EU sanctions regime cannot be an 'EU Magnitsky Act'
  8. Polling booths open in UK's limbo EU election

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us