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UN Blocks Ban on Bluefin Tuna Trade

UN Blocks Ban on Bluefin Tuna Trade
UN Blocks Ban on Bluefin Tuna Trade

A United Nations body regulating wildlife commerce has rejected a U.S.-backed proposal to ban the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna, a fish used mainly in Japanese foods such as sushi and sashimi.

During a convention in Doha, Qatar Thursday, representatives from Monaco argued that overfishing has threatened tuna stocks.  But Japan and scores of other nations opposed the ban, saying it would devastate fishing economies.

Only 20 countries, including the United States and Norway, voted in favor of the ban. The 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, will vote on a number of other measures involving threatened plants and animals, including sharks and coral.

Earlier Thursday, the international body rejected a proposed ban on the trade of polar bear parts.

The U.S. argued the sale of polar bear parts is endangering a population already threatened by a shrinking ice habitat.

But Canadian representatives and others insisted the trade threat to polar bears is minimal and that a ban would hurt the economies and livelihoods of indigenous communities.

There are currently about 25,000 polar bears in the wild.

The United States classified polar bears as a threatened species in May 2008 and has made almost all hunting of the bear illegal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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