Environmentalists Move to Protect White Marlin, Bluefin Tuna

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) petitioned the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to impose trade sanctions against the European Union (EU) for fishing practices that adversely affect Atlantic white marlin and bluefin tuna stocks. The environmental group made the petition under the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967. The petition cites irresponsible fishing practices that have undermined the effectiveness of the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), a treaty that establishes management measures to maintain the populations of tuna and tuna-like species that migrate across the Atlantic. Following certification under the Pelly Amendment, the President may impose import restrictions on any product from the offending country. "Despite ICCAT's recommendations that white marlin landings be reduced to 33 percent of 1999 landing levels, the EU increased its landings...in 2000," according to Scott Burns, Director of Marine Conservation at WWF. The Recreational Fishing Alliance made a similar petition, which was endorsed by the General Category Tuna Association, to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in September.