16 November 2009

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Last Act for the Bluefin” (editorial, Nov. 9) has it right. The bluefin tuna needs an immediate respite from all fishing. No wildlife species, especially a migratory one shared in common by many nations, can withstand commercial hunting without end.

In the United States, we learned this lesson just in time to rescue our migratory waterfowl and other prized game species from oblivion at the beginning of the 20th century. All commercial hunting was banned, and those species were carefully managed for sport hunting only.

Commercial hunting of wildlife was always a losing proposition on land. Though some commercial fisheries have been well managed, others have been a disaster (Atlantic halibut, Atlantic cod, Hawaiian lobster, sharks). It is now or never for the bluefin. Governments need to step up and do the right thing. Will they?

William J. Chandler
Washington, Nov. 9, 2009
The writer is vice president for government affairs, Marine Conservation Biology Institute.