Bluefin Tuna Near Extinction
According to National Geographic, bluefin tuna are an amazing part of the ocean’s ecosystem. With an average size of 6′ 5″ (2 meters) and 550 pounds (250 kilograms) — some have been found to weigh a whopping 1,500 pounds! – this carnivorous fish will also feed on zooplankton and kelp.
The speed at which it swims can reach 43 miles (73 kilometers) per hour. They even have the ability to retract their dorsal and pectoral fins to reduce drag. Some of these tuna have been tracked traveling from North America to Europe several times in a year. How’s that for endurance?
The problem is bluefin tuna are considered tasty and highly sought after for the sushi market. Demand has reduced the global population to near extinction.
Take Action: Protect the Bluefin Tuna!
Atlantic bluefin tuna spawn in two places worldwide: the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. With the Deepwater Oil catastrophe earlier this year, bluefin tuna’s spawning grounds have been compromised. And illegal fishing is the biggest danger to bluefin tuna in Mediterranean waters.
Atlantic bluefin tuna are listed as endangered. Their population has been reduced by 85 percent since 1970. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has thwarted conservation attempts, especially in the Mediterranean.
It is imperative to allow these graceful creatures to replenish and in a little more than one week (ICCAT), the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, will meet on November 17, to discuss strategies.
Ask the Obama Administration to call on ICCAT to protect spawning bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean Sea. If these tuna are not allowed to replenish their dwindling populations, they will be fished to extinction.
At the November meeting, the Pew Environment Group is calling on ICCAT member nations to:
- Suspend the Atlantic bluefin fishery until effective management measures are in place and illegal fishing is under control
- Prohibit take of Atlantic bluefin tuna on their spawning grounds
- Strengthen shark fishing conservation measures to ensure no further declines in shark species including shortfin mako and oceanic whitetip sharks
- Combat IUU fishing through the strengthening of port State measures
A PEW report calls for spawning sanctuaries to help with restoring the population.
Sign the petition asking President Obama to protect the future of bluefin tuna.
photo credit: Flickr: Armando Estudante