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September 25, 2012

Hope for bluefin


© OCEANA Keith Ellenbogen


There is some hopeful news on the fate of the bluefin tuna – one of the iconic species of the Mediterranean, and one which has long been held as a frightening example of the effects of overfishing and illegal fishing.

Bluefin tuna, much favored by sushi lovers, was on the verge of collapse. In 2006, International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) established a recovery plan for the stating the likelihood of recovering stocks to levels which can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2022 to be 60%.

A dramatic increase in controls to prevent illegal fishing and management measures have finally delivered some hope for the future of these magnificent creatures. According to ICCAT scientist the bluefin tuna stock is recovering.

But this positive step should be looked at as just the first of a long set of stairs leading to the full recovery of this still overexploited stock. Bluefin is a longliving species and therefor has a slow rate of recovery. Because of this it is critical that this plan continue its course because there is still a long way to go before bluefin tuna is fished sustainably in the Mediterranean. Scientific advice – which is often ignored – must be followed; and right now, it is urging for precaution, which we know, is the wisest advice when dealing with a top predator that is in such high demand.