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Open Letter to An Taoiseach
Saturday December 14, 2013 15:28 by Sue Anthony - Sea Shepherd Ireland
IUCN Red list of threatened species
We write to bring our concerns to you personally, resulting from media coverage on the 2nd December in the Irish Daily Mail Newspaper of the content of a working meeting dinner menu shared by yourself and President Shinzo Abe of Japan which seriously abused fisheries conservation measures.
OPEN LETTER TO AN TAOISEACH
December 13, 2013
As a marine conservation organisation, we have long advocated for the protection of marine wildlife and habitats and have raised public awareness of exploitive and illegal practices in our oceans.
We write to bring our concerns to you personally, resulting from media coverage on the 2nd December in the Irish Daily Mail Newspaper of the content of a working meeting dinner menu shared by yourself and President Shinzo Abe which seriously abused fisheries conservation measures.
We would like to take the opportunity to highlight that the inclusion of Bluefin Tuna on this menu is very concerning as it a species that is listed on the IUCN Red list of threatened species. The Tilefish, a coral reef fish with some 42 species are all classed as rare and all are threatened by overfishing for food and the aquarium trade.
Both fish are at high risk of being sourced from unregulated fisheries while members of self-regulatory bodies such as the Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna have admitted substantial abuse of set quota limits and compliance to regulations. Sustainable fishing is fishing that is done in such a way as to consider the health of the harvested species and the wellbeing off our oceans; Tuna and Tilefish are captured using the environmentally destructive methods of Longlining and Trawling which not only leads to specific species extinction but also significant bye catch and endangerment of multiple untargeted and endangered fish, mammals and bird species along with permanent large scale destruction of habitat including coral reefs.
Globally there are agencies to protect endangered species and in theory these agencies along with standards and acts are supposed to protect fish and marine mammal populations and eliminate overfishing. Yet, if this is true, endangered Bluefin Tuna would not be overfished to the point of being three years away from extinction and fisheries around the globe would not have completely collapsed, and multiple species of fish and marine mammals would not be are risk worldwide due to environmental degradation, to name just a few problems facing fisheries. There simply is no adequate enforcement of these various standards, acts and laws, therefore as individuals we must all take responsibility, and as head of our Government you should lead the people to comply with these directives.
Marine environments today are under siege like never before due to overfishing, pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, fish farming and its concurrent diseases, marine animal exploitation and general environmental destruction. It is a scientific fact that every major fishery in the world is currently in collapse. In the last 50 years alone, 90% of all big fish in the ocean have been depleted. Species are being taken faster than they can reproduce and those caught are getting smaller and smaller. If decisive steps are not taken to stem the tide, scientists predict we will see fishless oceans by 2048.
Our organisations work closely with scientists, and others to improve marine conservation but despite our best efforts to address problems in these fisheries, matters have only become worse, and we are somewhat ashamed that our government which you lead is irresponsibly participating in this destruction. The Irish Government and its Ministers represent the people and principles of this country, and when they are abroad they should not relinquish the legislation and regulations by which our own countries fisheries are governed and abide by. Therefore, as a world leader we believe that you personally must lead by example, in Ireland and abroad, to minimize harm to fish, marine mammals and habitats and not to encourage a market for endangered species. A high standard must be upheld and should be clearly communicated to our hosts and guests.
While in Government you have waged a just war to regain our sovereignty and have held job creation as a priority, as an island with a strong maritime history we need to respect and preserve the oceans and encourage others to do this to create sustainable employment not just in marine resources, but also in marine conservation and tourism.
Each Irish citizen is a stakeholder in the conservation of the oceans and as citizens who represent Sea Shepherd Ireland we are requesting a meeting with you as soon as possible, to talk about how we might proactively and positively improve ocean conservation not only here in Ireland but how our Government can best represent such ideas while abroad, to the benefit of all.
We look forward to receiving your comments and trust you will take the appropriate action to ensure that Ireland is represented as a country that takes ocean conservation seriously.
For the oceans
Sea Shepherd Ireland