Nov. 9, 2010 /EIN Presswire/ – A 7 month investigation covering 10 countries along the U.S. East Coast and the Mediterranean Sea has uncovered a pattern of corruption, greed and criminal misconduct that led to the overfishing of eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna over the past decade.

More than one of three bluefin tuna caught during the period 1998 and 2007 was sold on the black market, according to an investigative project which involved reporters from Croatia, France, Italy, Japan, Spain and Tunisia. The investigation found an array of illegal practices: misreporting catch size, hiring banned spotter planes, catching undersized fish and trading fishing quotas.

The results of the investigation were reported Monday by many of the reporters who participated. They have produced a series of articles and a documentary entitled, “Looting the Seas.”

“This is a very complex supply chain with layers of responsibility and complicity throughout,” said Marina Walker Guevara, one of the journalists who spoke with fellow reporters on conference call. “At no step along the supply chain were people doing the right thing.”
It has been estimated that four fifths of the tuna harvested ended up in Japan.

The journalists said management by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has proven to be ineffective. ICCAT’s monitoring system, a trail of paperwork to track the species and prevent fraud, did not work as expected.

“[ICCAT was] relying on industry to accurately report catches. About half of all entries lack significant information that would allow a regulator to track the trade,” said Guevara.

The full series on bluefin tuna is available at www.icij.org.
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