Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Bluefin Tuna Black Market (Huffington Post & FishNewsEU)

Well, I'm back. And I'd like to start off by writing about some articles I found while I was away. Although these are now several weeks old, I feel that they're still important and recent enough to write about anyway.

Starting with this one:

photo credit Felix Sanchez

You should probably all know by now that the bluefin tuna is an endangered species. If not, you haven't been paying attention and I secretly hate you. But anyway, I'll give you a second chance: The bluefin tuna is an endangered species. (Read: Stop buying it. Go for Pacific albacore or Atlantic skipjack, which are also healthier choices due to their lower levels of toxins like mercury.)

Weak regulations and a lack of official oversight have helped contribute to the species decline, as well as a black market trade.

"Each year, thousands of tons of fish have been illegally caught and traded, the seven-month investigation found. At its peak - between 1998 and 2007- this black market included more than one out of every three bluefin caught, conservatively valued at $400 million per year."

Members of the International Commission for the Conservation of the Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) met in Paris in mid-November to determine whether or not there would be a highly recommended moratorium on bluefin tuna fisheries. Obviously that didn't happen...Again, short-term interests have won out against long-term conservation and sustainability. The quota was dropped by only 600 tonnes, which is essentially nothing when talking about an endangered species that is overfished.

“This trivial quota reduction for the eastern bluefin tuna stock is a political decision, not a science-based one,” said Maria Jose Cornax, fisheries campaigns manager for Oceana. “Without an industrial fishing closure, it actually encourages illegal fishing and fails to ensure stock recovery. This political outcome is not good for the fish or the fisherman, and will certainly result in further stock depletion.”

"Biologists warn that at stake is more than the mere loss of a favorite source of sushi. Bluefin tuna, they say, are near the top of the food chain and their demise will have dire consequences for marine ecosystems. Without large predators, entire food chains may erode, leaving the seas overrun by millions of jelly fish and micro-organisms."

Full articles here:
Bluefin Tuna Black Market: How A Runaway Fishing Industry Looted The Seas (Huffington Post)
ICCAT Fails Again to Ensure Bluefin Tuna Recovery, say Conservation Organisations (FishNewsEU)

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