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Sushi Eaters Endanger Bluefin Tuna

The Pacific bluefin tuna are in trouble. According to a press release from IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the sushi trend of the past two decades may have severe, unforeseen consequences. The Pacific bluefin tuna may be headed for extinction due to the popularity of sushi.

bluefin tuna

Pacific bluefin tuna/Image: FishWatch

At present, the bluefin tuna has just been officially declared “vulnerable” on the endangered species list. One of the problems is that a significant number of bluefin tuna are caught young so they’ve not had the opportunity to reproduce in the wild.

IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre said: “We have scientific evidence that protected areas can play a central role in reversing this trend. Experts warn that threatened species poorly represented in protected areas are declining twice as fast as those which are well represented. Our responsibility is to increase the number of protected areas and ensure that they are effectively managed so that they can contribute to saving our planet’s biodiversity.”

Currently the endangered species list has 76,199 species on it. 22,143 of them are actually threatened with extinction. The Pacific bluefin tuna is but one species fished for Japanese fish markets.

bluefin tuna

Pacific bluefin tuna/Image: MontereyBayAquarium

The Atlantic bluefin was also heavily hunted until the International Union for Conservation of Nature establishedconservational quotas” to be managed internationally. They chose not to ban the fish because Japan claimed would adversely affect the economy of poorer nations.

Paulus Tak, a senior officer from Pew Charitable Trusts, a conservation group that monitors tuna populations, stated: “Despite the last few years of progress from ICCAT countries, the decisions this year have shown that this Commission is not accounting for critical vulnerabilities highlighted by science.”

Tak is unconvinced when it comes to the quotas.  He feels that enforcement of unlawful fishing operations and farming are better choices as opposed to sustaining populations by raising quotas.

Tak concluded: “Instead of continuing progress toward adopting precautionary, science-based catch limits in some of these fisheries, member countries put in place very risky quotas that could lead to declines in bluefin populations.”

Sushi Eaters Endanger Bluefish Tuna

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.