October 30, 2009

Scientists: Bluefin Tuna Now Endangered
Things have gone from bad to worse for the bluefin tuna. And now scientists from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), the industry group charged with "managing" the bluefin tuna population say only a global fishing ban can save it:
ICCAT scientists estimated that the Atlantic bluefin tuna's spawning biomass is less than 15 percent of its original stock before industrial fishing. The decline is steep enough for the tuna to fall under Appendix 1 of Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). The scientists also stated that a total suspension of fishing is the only way for the species to no longer meet Appendix 1 of CITES in ten years time.
Of course, the ICCAT has a long history of ignoring its scientists. It was less than a year ago that marine biologist and tuna fishery expert Carl Safina scolded the ICCAT for once again setting quotas above sustainable levels:
What's really needed is a moratorium for bluefin, and I first said that in 1991. That's the bluefin situation. I must say that based on their whole history I would have been astounded if I.C.C.A.T. had set an eastern quota that complied with the science. I'm ashamed of what they do, but no longer surprised.
With ICCAT's own scientists calling for a total ban, it will be interesting to see if the ICCAT finally acknowleges reality. Either way, for those of you still eating Atlantic bluefin tuna should be aware that you're eating an endangered species.

Photo by adulau used under a CC license

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