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Pacific bluefin tuna nears a critical state.

By JW Dowey - 09 Oct 2016 17:25:0 GMT
Pacific bluefin tuna nears a critical state.

The sheer magnificence of a high-performance, 3m (9.8 feet) predator in the North Pacific should excite anybody, but many still prefer to feast on the last few tuna left, 80% of them consumed in Japan (and OFC Japanese restaurants elsewhere.) The slaughter will stop, but maybe only when they are all gone, or another tuna species is picked on. Thunnus orientalis image; Credit: © aes256

The tuna species worldwide have suffered enough. As the Pacific stocks dwindle alarmingly, life without tuna could be reality. The Pacific bluefin tuna,Thunnus orientalis is being fished on its spawning grounds, reducing the population even more quickly than in previous years. 98% of the catch are now between 0 and 2 years old, from these nurseries in the Western Ocean. In the Eastern Pacific, 90% of the catch is between 0 and 3-year-old. No tuna fishing is allowed in the spawning grounds in the Gulf of Mexico as it takes 10 years for this tuna to mature. Any fisherman will tell you why it is self-defeating to kill so many fish that haven’t reached breeding age. Greed as always will win out over sustainability, unless several nations act according to the Center for Biological Diversity(CBD.)

The United States, Japan, South Korea and Mexico have never reached agreement on the Pacific bluefin. Only the US National Marine Fisheries Service are acting now in a possible reprieve for the species. Status reviews usually produce adequate evidence that these tuna at their limits of sustainability. More likely, they are being fished out. At the CBD, Catherine Kilduff is aware that, we have to find ways to limit overfishing and protect important habitat or we may see the last Pacific bluefin tuna sold off and lost to extinction.

This beautiful, high-performance migratory predator is critical to ecosystem balance in the ocean,said Mark Spalding, president of The Ocean Foundation. Unfortunately, these fish have no place to hide from mankind’s high-tech, long-distance, big-net fishing fleets. It is not a fair fight, and so the Pacific bluefin tuna is losing. As all the catch is caught before breeding, there will soon be no eggs laid. Unless the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission acts this month, overfishing will simply continue as before and that will be the finale for this fish.

Fisheries management is laughable in the Pacific as the edicts that are produced are just responses to lobbying by companies owning those fishing fleets. Scientific evidence will be considered by the US Fisheries Service with regard to possible protection by the Endangered Species Act. Will other countries, as well as the US itself continue their overfishing regardless? Such irresponsibility has to be fought tooth and nail for any such species facing such a totally thoughtless extinction.

The US Federal document involved in the petition at NOAA is lengthily displayed here, at the Department of Commerce. While our very personal approach to the tuna problem is most recently shown here