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U.N. Rejects Trade Bans on Tuna, Polar Bears

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Delegates at a United Nations conference on endangered species refused to impose an international trade ban on bluefin tuna and polar bears.

The U.S. had been pushing for new protections for the large tuna and to stop trading polar bear parts and skins.  The Atlantic tuna population has declined by two-thirds since the 1970's, due to overfishing and the advent of tuna ranching in recent years. Japan worked to block that ban.

Canada argued that polar bear populations are healthy, despite warnings that their habitat is disappearing because of global warming.

Both measures failed by wide margins in votes taken at a U.N. conference on endangered species in Doha, Qatar.

“It wasn’t a very good day for conservation,” Juan Carlos Vasquez, a spokesman for the UN endangered species organization told The New York Times. “It shows the governments are not ready to adopt trade bans as a way to protect species.”