According to an investigation by BLOOM, the European Union is driving the tuna population in the Indian Ocean towards collapse. In recent years, negotiations have been taking place around saving the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna.
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There are three commercially important tuna species in the Indian Ocean, and all of them are at risk. One of the prickliest issues for tuna fisheries in the world is the use of fish-aggregating devices. On February 5, countries hammered out an agreement on fish-aggregating devices in Mombasa, Kenya. That’s when members of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission agreed to reduce the number of drifting fishing devices and to impose three-month closures on the devices.
Critics say this progress has happened despite the European Union attempting to water down ambition on critical measures aided by the vastly disproportionate negotiating muscle of its delegation to tuna talks, including numerous industry representatives.
The bloc’s distant-water fishing fleet reels in the largest share of tuna in the Indian Ocean, most of it taken by massive industrial vessels that use fish-aggregating devices.
“EU public authorities and industrial lobbies have merged into a unique body which, on top of damaging marine wildlife and ecosystems also harms developing economies in the Global South,” Frédéric Le Manach, scientific director of BLOOM Association, a French nonprofit, said in a statement.
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The European Union has sent more lobbyists than officials to high-level tuna talks in recent years as negotiations around saving the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna – a valuable stock perilously close to crashing – intensified, according to an investigation by BLOOM.
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