Leading article: Sea change

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Some forms of protection are more effective than others. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas has proven perfectly useless in conserving stocks of bluefin tuna. By contrast, The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), while certainly not perfect, has been far more effective in safeguarding those animals put under its protection.

So we should welcome the moves by Monaco, to be backed by our own Government, to place bluefin under the protection of CITES. We should be realistic about what this change of protection can achieve. A study published last year concluded that even if all bluefin fishing ended tomorrow, its population might collapse anyway. Still, CITES probably presents the last best chance of ensuring the survival of this magnificent creature. We must hope this new protection will be brought in without delay. And that it will not prove too little, too late.

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