Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bluefin tuna listed as threatened species

If you breathe ocean water like I do, you know about the plight of bluefin tuna.  So who needs another damn bluefin tuna story?

Too bad, you're going to get one anyway. 

Australia will list Southern bluefin tuna as a threatened species.  Interestingly, that's not the bluefin tuna species that's been in the news.  Yes, there are actually three species of bluefin tuna, Southern BT, Atlantic BT, and Pacific BT.

Here's the sorry situation for Southern bluefin (right). I couldn't find a more recent graph to post but things aren't getting better.  And if the graph went further back in time, the decline would look even worse.  Argh.  This is about 5% of unfished levels.  19 out of 20 bluefin are now gone.  How many different ways can we say this stinks? 

But back to the news.  Before you cheer about the listing, wait a minute.  ABC News (that's Australia BC News) reports that:
"Portland's tuna industry is not expected to be hurt by changes to the protection of southern bluefin tuna in Australia."
And the Environment Minister from Oz agrees, insisting the move won't hurt fishing

Say what?  Fishing goes on?  Since fishing is the biggest prpoblem for bluefin, why is this OK?  A voice from Australia's fishing sector says, that's OK because fishing in Oz isn't to blame since most fishing is done by others. Well, not quite.  Here's who catches the fish, mostly Australia. 

2010 tuna allocation:
Australia  4,270 tons

Japan  2,261 tons 
Korea 859 tons
Taiwan 859 tons
New Zealand 754 tons
 Indonesia 651 tons

More symbolic action, more denial by fishers, more blah blah blah from bloggers.  How do we change this?  Hmmm...

Maybe we can all stop buying bluefin tuna?  But this effort mostly leaves out Japan, where 80% of the world's bluefin tuna go to get eaten.    

I think there's more to come on this issue before we get it solved. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its a serious shame that 19 out of 20 southern Bluefin Tuna are now gone!!! It's even worse to hear that Australia catches the largest amount of them, approximately double what Japan takes.