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Tuna Consumption Must Stop to Save a Great Fish Species: Stop Industrial Fishing and Outlawing Tuna Fishing Required
Danny Quintana -- Oceans & Space Explorations, Environmentalism Danny Quintana -- Oceans & Space Explorations, Environmentalism
Salt Lake City, UT
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tuna Species are Endangered from Industrial & Rogue Fisherman

For thousands of years' tuna has been a prized delicacy in many different cultures, and since 1970 industrial fishing has brought this product to dinner tables the world over and in so doing nearly wiped out the various species of this magnificent creature. Limits have been placed on Atlantic Bluefin fishing by European authorities and this program has been successful to a certain degree, but the species is still highly endangered and poached on the high seas by rogue fishing operations. The popularity of sushi among Western nations has added to the pressure on many different fish species while fishing trawlers have increased in size and ability to catch everything in sight.  

The Global High Seas Marine Preserve, a non-profit dedicated to saving the oceans, is putting on emphasis on educating on the public on how dire the situation for top-of-the-food-chain predators and encourage them to demand seafood products only from sustainable sources. This is a two-fold problem; getting the consumers to express their will to merchants and making sure the products are indeed from sustainable sources.

GHSMP has launched a campaign, 50 Sustainable Seafood Cities Campaign, to encourage municipal authorities in the largest U.S. cities to mandate that only seafood products from sustainable sources in their jurisdictions. Local environmental groups are being recruited as GHMSP seeks to educate the public in these cities how consumer power can alter the behavior of the major industrial fishing enterprises. For more info go to www.SaveOceanLife.com.  

The amazing Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus, is described by National Geographic as "one of the largest, fastest, and most gorgeously colored of all the world's fishes. Their torpedo-shaped, streamlined bodies are built for speed and endurance. Their coloring—metallic blue on top and shimmering silver-white on the bottom—helps camouflage them from above and below. And their voracious appetite and varied diet pushes their average size to a whopping 6.5 feet (2 meters) in length and 550 pounds (250 kilograms), although much larger specimens are not uncommon.

"Unfortunately for the species however, bluefin meat also happens to be regarded as surpassingly delicious, particularly among sashimi eaters, and overfishing throughout their range has driven their numbers to critically low levels.

"Atlantic bluefins are warm-blooded, a rare trait among fish, and are comfortable in the cold waters off Newfoundland and Iceland, as well as the tropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea, where they go each year to spawn. They are among the most ambitiously migratory of all fish, and some tagged specimens have been tracked swimming from North American to European waters several times a year."

There are 8 species:


Atlantic Bluefin (also called Northern)….Pacific Bluefin….Southern bluefin


What are the basic characteristics of the bluefin tuna?

Located in the Mediterranean Sea; Iceland to the Canary Islands; and Newfoundland, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico.

Generally, they swim from 1.74-4.5 mph to 9.20 mph.  When chasing prey or to avoid predators, they swim up to 44-62 mph.

They can dive to depths of 3,280 feet.

Size for average mature adult: Length ranges from 6 feet 7 inches – 8 feet 2 inches; maximum 21 feet

Weight 600 lbs.; maximum 1,600 lbs.

In the 1970's the average weight was 1,200 lbs. and now the average is 600 lbs.

They are" warm-blooded" – this keeps its core muscles warm (used for power and steady swimming).

They can live up to 30 years, but few survive this long due to rampant overfishing.

They eat herring, mackerel, hake, menhaden, squid and crustaceans.

Their predators are orcas (killer whales) and sharks.

What is the state of Bluefin tuna?

Since the early 1900's when factory fishing was introduced, the Bluefin tuna numbers have been reduced by 90% and in the Mediterranean it is down to 97%.

Between 1970 and 1998, there was 70% drop. This shows the rapid acceleration of the decline.

In 2009, 72% decline in the Eastern Atlantic, and 82% decline in the Western Atlantic. In that same year, Monaco formally declared them as endangered.

At a United Nations-backed conference aimed at regulating international trade in endangered species, the total ban on bluefin tuna fishing and trading was rejected on March 18,2010. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted 68 to 20 with 30 European abstentions.

Who is fishing them?

Australia, Cape Verde, Croatia, Cypress, Greece, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Oman, Panama, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey.  Half are operating in the Med.

Japan and Australia are the largest fisheries.

Who is buying the bluefin tuna?

They are used for sushi, sashimi and steaks. They are prepared in sushi as hon maguro or toro (tuna belly).

It is a $7.2 billion industry around the world.  The largest consumers are Japan.

The suppliers are marine fisheries, not fish farms.

Toxins in bluefin tuna?

There are elevated levels of mercury and PCBs in bluefin tuna.  It should be avoided.

Why is bluefin tuna crucial?

Bluefin tuna matures slowly and they are less resilient to fishing pressure.  As part of the ocean's ecosystem, they are needed for preys and predators in the oceans.

How are the bluefin tuna fisheries regulated?

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is an inter-governmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas.

Unfortunately, the international organization managed the underreporting of juvenile catches and illegal fishing.  The fishing takes way exceed the international quotas.

How are they caught?

Overfishing with hi-tech commercial fishing fleets and rampant illegal fishing will make the bluefin populations vanish from Mediterranean waters. They are in great danger.

The Bluefin tuna were traditionally caught with traps. Currently, purse seines are used instead and then the fish are transferred to tuna farms in cages to be fattened up.

They are caught with purse seines, longlines, troll lines, and trap nets. Sometimes harpoons, hand lines, pole-and-line, and nets.


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