Atlantic bluefin tuna was the subject of the fiercest battle of the 13-day meeting in the Qatari capital. The US Department of the Interior, which supported a proposed ban on commercial trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, says that stocks of the fish have dropped some 72 percent, mostly over the past decade.
But Japan argued that many nations' economies would be hurt by a ban. And it turned some heads by serving delegates bluefin tuna sushi at the Japanese embassy the night before the crucial vote on the ban.
The ban, proposed by western Mediterranean nation Monaco, would have allowed EU members to fish and trade the bluefin among themselves: an arrangement that smacked of Western double standards to some in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Japanese lobbyists were able to play on that perception in their pitches to many countries in those regions.
Some, however, are convinced that Japanese negotiators wouldn’t have been up to the job by themselves.