US Should Push for Bluefin Tuna Fishing Moratorium, Conservation Groups Say

bluefin tuna photo

photo: José Antonio Gil Martínez

TreeHugger has covered the plight of the bluefin tuna on a number of occasions, and in short humans are eating them into extinction: The spawning population of the western Atlantic bluefin has declined 80% in the past 40 years.

In an effort to do something about this sorry state of affairs, at this week’s biannual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, held in Marrakech, Morocco, conservation groups Oceana, Greenpeace and the Blue Ocean Institute are urging the United States to pursue a complete moratorium on bluefin tuna fishing in the entire Atlantic basin.

In a letter to the Secretaries of Commerce, Interior and State, the groups made the following recommendations:The Minimum: Reduce Quotas, Close Fishing in Spawning Grounds Immediately

1) reduce the current quota for western Atlantic bluefin tuna to 1,500 metric tons; and 2) consider an immediate closure of all known bluefin tuna spawning grounds at least during known spawning periods. These measures are the absolute minimum that must be done if populations are to have any realistic hope of recovering. If strong measures are not established, the groups argue that the species could soon be "red listed" as endangered under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The groups are urging ICCAT to act because it is the only international body capable of imposing an Atlantic-wide restriction on the catch of bluefin tuna.

What Can I Do?
As the bluefin tuna is far from the only species in danger of over-exploitation, if you do eat fish you should ensure that all of the fish you eat comes from sustainably managed fish stocks. A number of organizations produce wallet-sized sustainable fish cards that list which species to avoid and which are better choices.

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