Mediterranean fishermen break rules, fish die out-report

Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:01am GMT

* Overfishing, illegal nets destroy Mediterranean stocks

* Bluefin tuna, sea bass face extinction

By Robert Evans

GENEVA, April 19 (Reuters) - Some of the most prized fish on the menus of prestigious European restaurants are faced with extinction because too many are being caught, according to a report issued on Tuesday.

Among those that could disappear from Mediterranean and nearby waters in the coming years, it said, are bluefin tuna, sea bass, dusky grouper and hake -- around all of which leading chefs plan favoured dishes.

The report, by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), also predicted a glum future for non-commercial fish like shark and non-edible ray and at least 12 species of bony fish which are shunned by consumers.

These, as well as dolphins, whales, turtles and birds which have no commercial value were swept up in trawling nets and illegal driftnets, putting their species' survival at risk.

The report said bluefin tuna in waters off European and North African coasts had seen an estimated 50 percent decline in reproduction capacity over the past 40 years due to intensive overfishing.   Continued...

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