End of the Line has been in my Netflix queue for I don't know how long now and I finally watched it last night. It was as depressing as I expected, but even more terrifying than I thought it would be. The scale of overfishing is monumental. And we're taking out one species after the next, after the next.
It was with that on my mind when I opened my email this morning to see this headline: Swordfish risks following in the wake of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean.
It is from the World Wildlife Fund, which is asking ICCAT to take seriously the plight of swordfish during their 22nd annual meeting this year.
WWF writes, "No comprehensive management and recovery plan has ever been designed for this species – yet it is, like bluefin tuna, highly overfished. Unless immediate action is taken, the Mediterranean swordfish will meet the same fate as Mediterranean bluefin tuna and face a high risk of collapse. Countries have caught swordfish across the Mediterranean since Roman times, and those now catching the most are Italy (45%), Morocco (19%), Greece (10%), and Spain (10%). The most recent stock assessment carried out by ICCAT’s own scientific committee in July 2010 clearly depicts a situation of severe overfishing and warns about the unsustainably high catches of juvenile fish. The fishery underwent a rapid expansion in the late 1980s which led to a sharp decline in levels of fish of reproducing age in only a few years. The population has remained at historically low levels since then. According to ICCAT scientists, annual catches currently amount to around 12,000 tonnes."
The organization is calling on ICCAT to adopt a science-based recovery plan for the species, and stat. The fact is there are too many boats out fishing this species, and protection of the juvenile fish is a must if the numbers are to bounce back. Also, WWF notes that we need traceability of swordfish products worldwide to ensure that what does end up on the market is caught legally.
“The current fishery is mostly based on juveniles. If we don’t reverse this situation now by effectively
preventing the catch of immature fish, the fishery will not last long,” says Susana Sainz-Trápaga.