Tuna-trade debate ends

Environmentalists say Asian countries focused on “politics as usual”

Environmentalists are up in arms over the outcome of a recent international trade convention where bids to regulate overseas trade on a number of overfished marine species were shot down after aggressive lobbying from Asian countries, according to The Associated Press.

The two-week, 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) ended March 25 in Doha, Qatar. The most controversial topics included a failed proposal authored by Monaco and backed by the United States and the European Union for an international ban on the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a popular sushi item.

China was the proposal’s leading dissenter, and claimed that eliminating the $7.2 million-a-year industry would hurt poor Asian countries.

Protection was also denied for six species of sharks that have declined in population by 85 percent due to Asia’s lucrative shark-fin trade. One species, the porbeagle shark, gained protection early on in the CITES meeting, but that protection was shot down by an Asian-bloc vote on the convention’s last day.