The King of Sushi

Atlantic Bluefin Tunas

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.—efforts-still-needed

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.;lst;1

Lauren Bailey


3 thoughts on “The King of Sushi”

  1. I think it is disturbing to see how many people will allow this to happen again, after the overexploitation and then recovery of the bluefin. Long-term visions are so vital to all fisheries, but people make the mistake of thinking long term as in something that can be done later, and not today. It is pertinent to do something about these long term goals, immediately. Otherwise there will not be a future to protect. Bluefin tuna demand will continue to increase, and we must learn to balance the wild and farmed practices which harvest and produce this major seafood resource worldwide.

    1. I agree with you. It is like the world learned nothing from the collapse of the Cod Fishery. Bluefin demand in continuing to increase, especially in Japan. Recently a 593 lb tuna sold for a record amount of $736,000. The flesh of the fish itself is not worth that much. The only reason any person pays that much for a single Bluefin is for publicity. They are no longer paying for a fish, they are paying to get their restaurant name in the media. I believe this is abusive towards fishing rights. We do need to learn balance. ~Lauren

  2. I wrote about the Bluefin in the name that fisheries assignment. In one article, a marine biologist from Spain compared the decline in tuna to that of the American Buffalo. Atlantic fishermen claim that they are catching a larger stock size however I found little scientific evidence that the Bluefin stocks are increasing. The tuna breed in the Mediterranean were they are corralled into pens and fattened for harvest. This seems to be the most detrimental on the tuna stocks and should be internationally banned.

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