Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oh where, oh where has my bluefin tuna gone?

Rebuilding Pacific Bluefin Tuna

A science-based blueprint
July 11, 2014
Global Tuna Conservation

Pacific bluefin tuna are in trouble. After decades of overfishing, the population hovers at just 4 percent of its original size, and the unsustainably high catch of juveniles—the smallest fish—threatens the species’ continued existence.

These bluefin are important to the ocean ecosystem, and they support fishing industries on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. To allow the Pacific bluefin population to recover, fishing nations must take immediate and comprehensive action, including the establishment and implementation of catch limits based on the best available science and a minimum size limit to protect juvenile fish.

Off of Mexico, large purse seine vessels with massive nets catch schools of juvenile bluefin that are then taken to ranches along the coast, where they are fattened for months until fish and market conditions are ideal for sale.

In the western Pacific, fishermen target fish at every life stage—from as small as 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) to full maturity. Pacific bluefin, which regularly sell for thousands of dollars per fish, can sometimes go for much more. As part of the traditional first auction of the year, a 230-kilogram (507-pound) Pacific bluefin tuna recently sold in Tokyo for about $70,000 (7.36 million yen). In the past, prices have reached $1.76 million (155.4 million yen) for a single bluefin.

(Continued here.)

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