I thought I would report on a few good news in the world of marine conservation. First of we are going to look at tuna fishing and the endangered Mediterranean Blue fin Tuna. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) an organization consisting of NGOs and governments surprisingly voted to cut tuna quotas in half (almost) in the Mediterranean as well as instituting a complete fishing ban during the spawning season in May and June when they meet at the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. The surprising result came after Spain (an important fishing nation) and Japan (the key blue fin market) supported the restricted fishing to prevent the tuna population from collapsing. The IUCN Decision is not legally binding but puts a considerable amount of pressure on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) which will decide the future of tuna fishing for the coming years at a meeting in December. The effects of diminished quotas remain to be seen as a rapport from the WWF earlier this month showed that half all tuna caught in Italy was caught illegally and that illegal fishing was rampant in Italy.

I am going to leave tuna and talk about something completely different, Beluga whales. The US government this week listed the Beluga whales of Alaska’s Cook Inlet as an endangered species / population. The decision means much stricter rules about what can and can’t be done in the area and local authorities need to get the permission of the National Marine Fisheries Service before they can approve a number of activities in the area. Governor and GOP vice president candidate Sara Palin is worried that the decision will prevent economic growth in the area. She fears that the decision among other things will prevent the expansion of the harbor. The population declined nearly 50 percent between 1994 and 1998 and has not yet recovered. This is believed to be due to developments in the area, predation from killer whales and frequent whale strandings. Environmentalists hope that the new found protection will help increase the population again.

whale1 Some good news
Beluga whale