The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior has headed off to sea on a campaign to defend the Mediterranean and halt destructive bluefin tuna fishing operations.

Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishing has brought the species to the brink of extinction and is the most visible example of how oceans and fishery management are leading to disaster, says Greenpeace. Scientists have warned of the imminent collapse of the bluefin tuna fishery if fishing continues. The species must be allowed time to recover.

“Politics and fishery management have failed our oceans and set the bluefin tuna on a one-way path to extinction,” said Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “Others have failed our oceans, so Greenpeace will act. The Rainbow Warrior is now heading to sea to take action against one of the most irresponsible and destructive fishing operations in the world, to demand that the Mediterranean bluefin fishery be closed immediately. We will enforce the repeated recommendations of scientists. If we want bluefin tuna and healthy oceans tomorrow, we need marine reserves today.”

Governments gathered at the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in March failed to approve a ban on the lucrative trade in Atlantic bluefin meat, a measure which could have helped avert rapid bluefin tuna extinction.

“Time and tuna are running out and urgent action to save our oceans is needed now from governments and the public. Consumers must not buy or eat bluefin tuna and governments should put healthy oceans ahead of short-term profits by changing fishing policies and creating marine reserves,” added Knowles.

On Wednesday, Greenpeace activists delayed the departure of three bluefin tuna fishing vessels from the port of Frontignan, France. The vessels were among those with the highest quotas in the French bluefin tuna fishing fleet.

Northern Atlantic Bluefin tuna is fished in the Mediterranean using purse-seine nets, long-liners and other destructive fishing methods. The fishing season this year runs from 16 May until 15 June 2010.

Further Reading:
Greenpeace International

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