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UN Agency Backs Bluefin Tuna Ban, Vote Due In March

February 10, 2010

A United Nations scientific agency backed on Friday a proposal to ban international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, saying the species prized by sushi lovers needed to recover from commercial overfishing.

Monaco had proposed protecting bluefin tuna, which can fetch up to $100,000 in Japan, by listing it under appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

"In our opinion, the criteria for including the species in appendix 1 are met and international commercial trade in bluefin tuna should be prohibited," David Morgan, head of CITES scientific unit, told a news briefing.

Some 175 countries are due to vote on 40 proposals during the CITES triennial meeting in Doha, Qatar, from March 13-25.

The Swiss-based treaty body, which regulates international trade in wildlife, seeks consensus on its regulations to conserve and manage sustainably 34,000 animal and plant species.

Some 530 animals species -- including all the great apes, cheetahs, the snow leopard, the tiger, and all sea turtles -- as well as 300 plants are on its appendix I banning international commercial trade in species deemed under threat of extinction.

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