A new study reports the mainstream view from fisheries scientists. They say that 64% of yellowfin tuna are gone, but that's not a problem. In fact, removal of 64% is the goal.
The study's authors say that fisheries management is working and yellowfin tuna are being managed appropriately and sustainably. They also note that previous studies reporting problems were "half-baked" and based on "cherry-picked" data, and that these issues "cannot be reduced to sound bites." Hmmm...I have no doubt that the study is good, even if their metaphors are badly mixed and their criticism is self-referential.
How do the two studies really differ? The new study shows that the biggest tuna have declined by 80%. This is actually quite similar to the 90% decline of large fish found previously. Both studies agree that the largest fish are at least 80% gone. That's a striking similarity. In the new study, the sharp criticism of previous results is based on relatively modest declines of a few smaller species such as skipjack tuna.
Interesting, the methods are different, but the findings are fairly similar when comparing big fish to big fish. By far the largest difference is the threshold for concern. So decide for yourself...is it ok to take most of the big fish out of the ocean?
The real conflict here is over the goals of fishery management. At stake is the future of our oceans and fish.Tweet