Human-Safe Tuna

When did you last pick a tin of tuna from a supermarket shelf without first checking it bore a Dolphin Safe logo? Seventeen years on from that famous boycott, that set out to atone for the seven million dolphins that were estimated to have died in the fishing practices of the day, tuna are still big business. WWF note in their report, Tuna in Trouble: Major Problems for the World's Tuna Fisheries, (25pg, 1mb PDF) that the seven prime species of tuna are the single most important resource exploited on the high seas, making up 11% of the "total value of fish landings for consumption." Strange then that this week is the first time that the five major Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) have all met together to hash out issues besetting the industry. WWF are dismayed that they've left it so late, as the writing was on the wall 50 years ago. " ... tuna are in trouble. All 23 identified, commercially exploited stocks are heavily fished, with at least nine classified as fully fished and a further four classified as overexploited or depleted. Three stocks are classified as Critically Endangered, three as Endangered, and three as Vulnerable to extinction." Extinct, as in, never, no more. Time, long overdue, to add another label to those tins and make tuna safe from humans. In a perverse twist Australia and Japan have announced they will work together to help secure the industry, a stark contrast to their opposing stances on so-called 'scientific whaling.' Aside from setting out a nine point plan of action, WWF are also optimistic that just having everyone in the same room will lead to better understanding. For instance, in 2000 an estimated 1.2 billion hooks targeted tuna but also killed a range of other marine species, yet when one tuna commission swapped to circle hooks they reduce by-catch of turtles by 90%. Via ::Reuters

Tags: Australia | Japan

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