Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

How Eating Sushi Endangers the Survival of the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Kick Kennedy

The giant Atlantic bluefin tuna is praised for its size (bigger than a horse), its longetevity (it can live to 30) and its speed (faster than a Porsche). The Atlantic bluefin is also one of the most commercially valuable species of fish on Earth. Fetching $200/lb on the dock, a mature bluefin can be worth as much as $200,000.

Known as the “cocaine of the seas,” the species have been over fished to the point of endangerment. The Atlantic bluefin lived sustainably in the Mediterranean Sea for generations, but the boom of the luxury sushi and sashimi market in the 70s and 80s put the fish on the world's most wanted list. With the development of tuna farms (essentially fattening pens), bluefins became available outside the luxury goods market in the 90s. Soaring demand has caused an 85 percent decline in the population.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is at the forefront of the struggle to save the Atlantic bluefins. Its Mediterranean tagging missions track population changes and migration patterns. The WWF commissioned the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to implement a fishing capacity reduction plan, mandate that tuna farms record the sizes of their wild harvests for ICCAT assessment and investigate international trade data. Despite 40 years of these efforts, the bluefin population has continued to plummet. Last month, a WWF report uncovered a massive unreported trade via Panama that has been going on for decades. The report revealed that between 2000 and 2010, the equivalent of 18,704 tons of  live bluefin tuna were traded via Panama without being reported to the ICCAT.

Fortunately, yesterday in Morocco, at their annual meeting, the ICCAT reported some good news—tuna stocks have shown some signs of recovery. Despite this news, the Atlantic bluefin tuna continues to be the most overly and illegally fished species on our planet.

You might be wondering what you can do on the individual level for the Atlantic bluefin Tuna while the WWF continues to fight against the widespread pirate fishing that represents the principle peril to the bluefin tuna’s continued existence.

For one thing, you can choose to boycott Atlantic bluefin tuna that has been caught illegally. Unfortunately, it's impossible to tell how the tuna was caught or whether it came from a juvenile. However, if you cannot avoid tuna altogether, the WWF has a few tips. When ordering tuna sushi or sashimi, ask your restaurateur where the fish was caught. If it was caught in the Mediterranean, the WWF advises against ordering it. At the fish market or the supermarket, ask the fishmonger if they are selling Atlantic bluefin tuna that comes from the Mediterranean. If so, don’t buy it. As for canned tuna, it is very unlikely to be Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY pages for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Refrigerated trucks function as temporary morgues at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in New York City. As of July, the states where COVID-19 cases are rising are mostly in the West and South. Justin Heiman / Getty Images

The official number of people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to the new coronavirus has now passed 130,000, according to tallies from The New York Times, Reuters and Johns Hopkins University.

Read More Show Less
A man walks on pink snow at the Presena glacier near Pellizzano, Italy on July 4, 2020. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP via Getty Images

In a troubling sign for the future of the Italian Alps, the snow and ice in a glacier is turning pink due to the growth of snow-melting algae, according to scientists studying the pink ice phenomenon, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Climate activist Greta Thunberg discusses EU plans to tackle the climate emergency with Parliament's environment committee on March 4, 2020. CC-BY-4.0: © European Union 2020 – Source: EP

By Abdullahi Alim

The 2008 financial crisis spurred a number of youth movements including Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. A decade later, this anger resurfaced in a new wave of global protests, from Hong Kong to Beirut to London, only this time driven by the children of the 2008 financial crisis.

Read More Show Less
A climate activist holds a victory sign in Washington, DC. after President Obama announced that he would reject the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal on November 6, 2015. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge's rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration's attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Read More Show Less
A forest fire in Yakutsk in eastern Siberia on June 2, 2020. Yevgeny Sofroneyev / TASS via Getty Images

Once thought too frozen to burn, Siberia is now on fire and spewing carbon after enduring its warmest June ever, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
The Colima fir tree's distribution has been reduced to the area surrounding the Nevado de Colima volcano. Agustín del Castillo

By Agustín del Castillo

For 20 years, the Colima fir tree (Abies colimensis) has been at the heart of many disputes to conserve the temperate forests of southern Jalisco, a state in central Mexico. Today, the future of this tree rests upon whether the area's avocado crops will advance further and whether neighboring communities will unite to protect it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Independent environmental certifications offer a better indicator of a product's eco credentials, including labor conditions for workers involved in production. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Jeanette Cwienk

This summer's high street fashions have more in common than styles and colors. From the pink puff-sleeved dream going for just €19.99 ($22.52) at H&M, to Zara's elegant €12.95 ($14.63) halter-neck dress, clothing stores are alive with cheap organic cotton.

"Sustainable" collections with aspirational own-brand names like C&A's "Wear the change," Zara's "join life" or H&M's "CONSCIOUS" are offering cheap fashion and a clean environmental conscience. Such, at least, is the message. But is it really that simple?

Read More Show Less