Thursday, February 4, 2010

Overfishing of the Bluefin Tuna

Although commercial fishing does have its benefits, mostly economical, it has gotten out of control in some areas. One example of this was in the New York Times recently. Apparently the bluefin Tuna is in danger. According to European officials, the bluefin tuna is in fast decline. Some experts were quoted as saying it is "on the verge of extinction."

So, why is this specific tuna becoming increasingly endangered? The fatty belly of the bluefin tuna is sought after as a major ingredient in sushi. Not surprisingly, 80% of the bluefin tuna caught is exported to Japan. The bluefin Tuna is found in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.
France has just now jumped on the bandwagon of the European Union's crusade to list the species under "Appendix 1" of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. What does this mean? Appendix 1 would put them on the same list as Pandas and Whales. May see this as the only option to save the tunas from extinction. Although the motion to have the bluefin placed on the list was approved, of course there were conditions per the French agriculture and fisheries minister. The biggest of all being that they would have to have an 18-month delay before implementation. The minister stated that this was to gather additional scientific data. Of course, those opposed to the 18-month delay believe there is more than enough scientific data to support their solution.

Interestingly, the US fishing industry is against the listing on appendix 1. Rich Ruais, the executive director of American Bluefin Tuna Association, believes that if the international fishing ban is placed, a huge black market will be created for the bluefin tuna, "In fact, we believe a listing has the possibility of doing more damage than good." Of course, its not surprising that he is opposing the proposition since his job depends on it.

1 comment:

  1. We will spend some time later this semester talking about the negative effects of overfishing top predators like the bluefin tuna. There is a very active campaign to get people to stop eating these fish altogether.