photo: Tahsin Ceylan/IUCN
A new report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature details how rampant overfishing in the Mediterranean means that more than 40 fish species are in danger of becoming regionally extinct in the next few years. Among those threatened are important commercial species like bluefin tuna, dusky grouper, sea bass, and hake. Kent Carpenter of IUCN:
The Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic population of the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is of particular concern. There has been an estimated 50% decline in this species' reproduction potential over the past 40 years due to intensive overfishing. The lack of compliance with current quotas combined with widespread underreporting of the catch may have undermined conservation efforts for this species in the Mediterranean.
The report also notes that in that in addition to over-exploitation of commercial fish species, many species without commercial value (but of important intrinsic and ecosystem value...) such as sharks, rays, dolphins, whales, turtles and even birds are also taken in quantities sufficient to threaten them. Illegal use of drift nets was singled out as being particularly destructive.
Read the overview of the conservation status of Mediterranean fishes: IUCN [PDF]