Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Call for global tuna standards

TOKYO (AFP) - Australia, Japan and the United States have proposed a global system to assess tuna conservation amid criticism that not enough is being done to prevent overfishing. The proposal was made to an international meeting in the western Japanese city of Kobe aimed at saving tuna populations, which are dwindling in the face of a global fad for Japanese food.The proposed system would set up criteria "to create a common standard for evaluating performances of the five different conservation organizations," said Hideo Inomata, an official at Japan's Fisheries Agency.Five international bodies are in charge of tuna conservation, mostly divided by region. They are meeting together in Kobe for the first time.Environmentalists are calling for a radical overhaul of fishing management to save tuna stocks. They say the current system is not working."Because tuna conservation is a global problem, what we need first are common criteria for evaluating past activities by the five organizations," Inomata said."The performance review will include assessment of ways to conserve and manage tuna resources and ways to prevent illicit fishing," he said.Representatives of 60 countries or areas are taking part in the five-day meeting in Kobe that is expected to release a plan for action at its closing session Friday. Japan eats a quarter of the world's tuna, more than any other country.

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