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September 03, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama on Marine Fisheries

An Exclusive Sport Fishing Interview

Sport Fishing: What, if anything, would your administration do to save the Atlantic bluefin tuna? Overfishing has driven stocks to unprecedented low levels, a tiny fraction of historic numbers, and there is no improvement in sight for this enormously valuable resource.

Obama: The evidence is clear that unchecked global overfishing, including for Atlantic bluefin tuna, is having a devastating effect on fish stocks that the United States is charged by law with conserving and restoring. However, the playing field is not even out on the open ocean, where fishing fleets routinely exceed or ignore internationally established quotas. U.S. fishermen abide by some of the strongest conservation requirements in the world, and both recreational and commercial fishermen have come together to battle widespread overharvesting of Atlantic bluefin tuna. The United States cannot fix this problem alone, particularly when good-faith international negotiations are undermined by failure of other nations to abide by science-based conservation requirements. But we also cannot stand on the sidelines - we must take a strong stand to save this species from commercial - and biological - extinction. I would work with Congress as well as like-minded nations to employ all tools at our disposal, from traditional diplomacy to the international provisions of the 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other environmental treaties, to take actions that will force international fishery-management organizations and member nations to finally meet their legal and ethical obligations and address the devastating problem of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing on Atlantic bluefin tuna.