Tuna in Europe in danger

Overfishing of tuna is an international problem, and Japan's quota for tuna near Australia was recently cut. Regulations on fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic Ocean was on the agenda at the special meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), convening in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

WWF has analyzed international trade data, followed fishing vessels and looked at tuna ranches and reached this unhappy conclusion: The estimated total catches in 2004 and in 2005 were at least 45,000 tons each.

That is 40 percent more than the quota.

The tuna ranching boom that triggered the exhaustion of stocks is supported in large part by the Japanese appetite for tons of low-priced fatty tuna at your local sushi shop.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is being done by European Union vessels, including France, as well as Libya and Turkey. Because of a lack of measures to manage resources, bluefin tuna stocks are now nearly exhausted in the western Mediterranean. So fishing fleets are converging in the eastern Mediterranean, now believed to be the only remaining breeding ground for bluefin tuna in that area. This is drastically speeding the population's decline.

Arata Izawa at WWF Japan has more details: 'Farmed' bluefin in fact threaten tuna stocks

You can watch NHK World's news segment about Preserving Tuna in English (Real Player).

Over-fishing previous

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