US rejects petition to protect Pacific bluefin tuna

NGOs call it 'disappointing.' 

US President Donald Trump has rejected a petition Monday to protect Pacific bluefin tuna under the Endangered Species Act -- and the Center for Biological Diversity called it a "disappointing decision." 

“If the paychecks of fishery managers and federal officials were tied to the status of this marvelous creature, they would have done the right thing,” said Carl Safina, president of the Safina Center. 

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The Center for Biological Diversity said that nearly all Pacific bluefin tuna harvested "are caught before reproducing, putting in doubt their future as a species. Just a few adult age classes of Pacific bluefin tuna exist, and these will soon disappear due to old age. 

"Without young fish to mature into the spawning stock to replace the aging adults, the future is grim for Pacific bluefin unless immediate steps are taken to halt this decline," it said. 

“With today’s decision, the US  government left the fate of Pacific bluefin tuna to fisheries managers whose poor track record includes a ‘rebuilding’ plan with just a 0.1 percent chance of recovering the population to healthy levels,” said Shana Miller, a tuna expert at The Ocean Foundation. “The US must champion increased protection for Pacific bluefin at the international level, or a commercial fishing moratorium and international trade ban may be the only options left to save this species.”


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