Bluefin Tuna are one of the oldest fisheries in the world. The rise of industrial fishing, and the practice of farming, spurred a rapid decline in the Bluefin stocks in the East Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Farming tuna, is not like farming salmon or trout. The Bluefin are caught in nets, then hauled, still alive, into pens, where they are fattened until they reach a market size. The combination of these two factors caused an overfishing spiral. The demand for fresh Bluefin also served to drive the spiral. A recent assessment done by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), reveled that there were signs of a stock increase. This could be a major turning point for this species. If this trend is going to continue, ICCAT must make the decision to rigidly implement management strategies over the next three years. This is necessary if Bluefin are going to fully recover. The long-term vision for this fishery is a stock that is sustainably managed for the benefit of the marine ecosystem, fishery community and the consumers.
The following video aired in 2008 on 60 Minutes, and was re-aired in 2011. I remember see this news segment the first time, and it helped put me on the path to being a fisheries major. It takes a look at how the demand for fresh Bluefin in Japan has helped to cause the overfishing of the stocks. It also address other key topics surrounding the Bluefin and its value as a commodity.