perm filename DANIEL.NS[1,LMM]1 blob sn#178181 filedate 1975-09-20 generic text, type T, neo UTF8
n031  1103  20 Sep 75
c.1975 N. Y. Times News Service
    SAN DIEGO - The Government's new plan to place a limited
embargo on imports of tuna from nations fishing out of
season in a conservation zone of the eastern Pacific was
denounced recently by officials of the American Tuna Boat
Association as a ''timid and meaningless gesture.''
    The proposed retaliatory action against foreign poaching
in the five-million-square-mile area was announced Sept.
15 by the Department of Commerce to take effect in
    The government's threatened embargo would apply only to
yellowfin tuna, the choice white meat species, caught in
the conservation zone after its annual closing by edict
of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission under a
1965 treaty sponsored by the United States.
    This year's open season, which began Jan. 1 ended on March 12
after reaching a 195,000-ton limit fixed by the commission
for the total yellowfin catch in the controlled area, which
extends 1,500 to 2,000 miles at sea from the Southern California
coast to the tip of Chile.
    The tuna boat association, representing 119 world-ranging
seining clippers operating out of San Diego and San Pedro,
had sought more severe sanctions applying to all fish product
imports - even pet foods and fertilizers - from nations
whose fishing fleets ignore the conservation regulations,
regardless of whether the fish were caught in the restricted
    ''The Department of Commerce announcement has no meaning
whatever so far as protecting the interests and the actual
economic survival of a 73-year-old industry that's worth
a billion dollars a year to the American economy,'' said
Edward Silva, executive vice president of the tuna boat
    ''This so-called embargo would be completely unenforceable.
How can you tell whether a can of imported tuna on the
grocer's shelf is actually yellowfin, or that it was caught
in the restricted zone?''
    Silva said that, unless there was firmer government action,
the American fleet would have no alternative but to ''take
matters into its own hands.'' either by joining the foreign
yellowfin poachers to by transferring its vessels to foreign
    ''The American fleet already is becoming a runaway fleet,
with 11 owners petitioning for transfer to other flags,
principally Panamanian and Venezuela, since the department
of Commerce announcement,'' he added.
    The other signatories of the treaty are Canada, Mexico,
Japan, France, Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, none
of which are abiding by the conservation restraints, according
to owners and skippers of the American fleet.
    The fishing vessels of at least 18 other nations not signatorie
of the treaty have been sighted operating out of season
in the yellowfin zone since March 12, officials of the
tuna boat association said, and Coast Guard ships and planes
have photographed many of them. Some are American-owned
and operated.
    Owners and skippers of the American fleet have reported
that, because the United States is the only nation observing
the conservation program, this country's share of the yellowfin
catch has dropped from 90 per cent to 64 per cent since
the controlled zone was established.
    As a result, they said, the United States is importing
65 per cent of the tuna it consumes, causing severe economic
hardship to the fleet owners and shippers.
a-jn 9-20