Its been a long while since my last report. With the fall commercial tuna fishing season, and then planning a bowhunting vacation, I was quite preoccupied. I’ll do a report on that a bit later. Today though, I have a report based on the latest political developments for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and Spiny Dogfish. It would be great if you could give a public comment to the sources listed, so our fishery managers can have some real, and unbiased direction. I will also provide a link and address for the comments you offer.
Yesterday a dozen and a half commercial and recreational fishermen from the Northeast took a flight and a long bus ride into DC for a CoP15 meeting at the Yates Auditorium at the Department of the Interior building @ 18th and C streets, NW Washington, DC. This meeting was sponsored by the Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. ( CITES ) What is CITES ? There are two types of CITES listings, Appendix I and Appendix II. Appendix I covers species of plants or animals under threat of extinction that could be affected by trade. No commercial trade is allowed under App. I. The Appendix II listing is intended to cover species not necessarily under threat of extinction, but could become so unless trade is regulated. It has been suggested the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna to be listed to the Cites treaty under Appendix I, effectively barring ALL international trade in ABT. Thi would shut down ALL shipping of ABT to Japan or any other country. In addition it has been suggested that Spiny Dogfish be listed under CITES as an Appendix II, adding a further layer of regulation to daily fresh shipments of domestic dogfish overseas. You should know there is a loophole in CITES that can allow a country to “opt-out” or take a formal “reservation” allowing them to continue to trade with other nations that are not abiding by CITES! If the US adopts CITES, only the US fishermen will be negatively affected. In fact, the countries taking a “reservation” will benefit hugely from the lack of US fish in the market supply. As many of you already know there sure isn’t a shortage of Spiny Dogfish ! How this specie gets a recommendation to CITES is beyond me ! These fish are so abundant they keep fishermen from targeting tuna with chum methods from the Carolinas to Maine. Recreational striper and cod fishers simply cannot fish in the usual waters due to the predominance of this predatory fish. As for ABT the recommendation comes as a result of the 20 odd years of overfishing by EASTERN Atlantic countries that fish for ABT. The US fisherman has consistently fished within the rules and not over the recommended quotas as established by ICCAT. This November, the US delegation made remarkable strides at ICCAT in Brazil. The recent November ICCAT meeting produced reductions in Eastern Atlantic quota to 13,500 metric tons. Considering the previous years were as high as 50,000 to 60,000 metric tons, this is a great, huge accomplishment.
The latest stock estimates for the eastern Atlantic bluefin are at 5 million fish, with one million of these spawners (4 years old or older). The western Atlantic stock is estimated at 1 million fish. The US total catch is 15,000 fish from all us fisheries. The suggestion that North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna are endangered or threatened with extinction is preposterous. For this layperson, this stock is not “threatened with extinction” ! A CITES listing at this time would be a slap in the face to all on the US ICCAT delegation who have steadfastly toiled for the slow but inevitable progresses at ICCAT. A CITES listing is not the remedy for inability for the Eastern Mediterranean to conserve nor will it replace responsible and effective fishery management.
Urge the United States to NOT support a CITES listing for ABT or Spiny Dogfish.
Comments pertaining to species proposals should be sent to:
Division of Scientific Authority, US Fish & Wildlife Service 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 110 Arlington VA 22203
via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is my simple comment:
Dear Fish & Wildlife Service,
I write today to ask the United States to NOT support a CITES listing for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and Spiny Dogfish.
Thank you, (signature)
Thanks very much,
Bruce & “Marilyn S”