Bluefin Tuna in all areas are regarded as unsustainable.
Predators of the Bluefin Tuna are marine mammals, such as killer whales and pilot whales, sharks and other large predatory fishes, but by far their biggest threat is man. Bluefin tuna are extremely valuable; in the first week of this year (4th January 2011) one 342kg specimen sold for a record-breaking £257,320 in Japan, more than doubling the previous record of £111,000 in 2010.
Conserving Bluefin Tuna
There are two populations of Atlantic Bluefin tuna. The smaller western stock, which spawns in the Gulf of Mexico, has declined by nearly 90% since the 1970s and is classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. The larger eastern stock, which spawns in the Mediterranean Sea, is currently classified as Endangered but is also considered to be in danger of extinction.
The commercial tuna fisheries have led to severe exploitation in several areas, most notably in the North Atlantic Ocean. Because Bluefin migrate long distances, and because much of the fishery occurs in international waters, international cooperation is essential for management decisions. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) was created in 1966 to specifically address the conservation issues facing the Bluefin, and now has 48 nations as members. ICCAT aims to organise and coordinate international research, and proposes management regulations. It has been criticised for creating short-term policies which favour fisherman, rather than the survival of the species, and has been jokingly referred to as the “International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna”.
East Atlantic and Mediterranean species are on the brink of extinction and should not be caught at all.
Selfridges Fish Guide…?