The UN has rejected the proposal that Atlantic bluefin tuna be listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, which is currently in session.
CITES regulates the international trade of threatened species. All imports, exports and re-exports of species included in CITES must be authorized by a licensing system that is administered by the individual parties of the convention.
Japan, which imports 80 percent of Atlantic bluefin and has led the opposition to the ban, reiterated its arguments that CITES should have no role in regulating tuna and other marine species. It expressed willingness to accept lower quotas for bluefin tuna but wanted those to come from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, which currently regulates the trade.
Why shouldn’t CITES play a role? It’s true that CITES has been very reluctant to include marine species, especially ones with commercial value. That’s why fewer than 5% of species listed by CITES are marine species. Also, ICCAT has shown itself to be ineffective. The very notion that Atlantic bluefin tuna were up for listing is evidence.
If this news is not enough, polar bears were also defeated:
The tuna defeat came hours after delegates rejected a U.S. proposal to ban the international sale of polar bear skins and parts, showing that economic interest at this meeting appeared to be trumping conservation.