Red tuna reaches crisis point

LAST UPDATED: 5 Apr, 2010 @ 18:54
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Red tuna reaches crisis point

RED tuna is now on the brink of extinction, scientists have warned.

Population levels are now classed as critically low after numbers plummeted to just 15 per cent their former levels.

The growing popularity of delicacies sushi and sashimi not only in Japan, but also in the United States and Europe has been blamed for the grave situation.

Now, more than 150 countries will gather on March 25 to debate the future of the endangered fish at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Europe and the United States are calling for redfin tuna – heavily fished in the Mediterranean – to be placed on the list of species threatened by extinction.

Such a move would effectively prohibit catching the species for purely commercial gain by 2011.

Yet, this severe move is heavily opposed by Japan, which is hoping to garner enough support from a third of countries present in order to block the measure.

“Governments must safeguard the future of redfin tuna, otherwise a species of huge historical importance will be lost forever,” said Sergi Tudela, from WWF.

Although international fishing quotas have been drastically reduced in recent years to protect the ailing species, critics say they are still insufficient.

They point to the still widespread illegal fishing practices and overexploitation that are still commonplace.

Redfin tuna catches were twice the levels legally permitted in 2007 and four times higher than the quantity recommended by experts.

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  1. It is commercial fishing methods that are depleting this species!

    On a recent trip from my home port of Duquesa to Puerto de Santa Maria the many kilometres of tuna nets were not only a bane to navigation but more importantly to the Red Fin Tuna and dolphins that also get caught in these nets.

    My 9m private fishing boat has a licence to fish for Red Fin Tuna by rod and line.
    The sport for myself and others aboard is just to catch this fish, quickly weigh it and release back to the sea.

    To keep this species sustainable in our part of the Mediterranean, capture should only be permitted by rod and line.

    Many large supermarket chains will only sell Tuna products that are caught by rod and line, let’s hope soon the Spanish government ban these insidious five kilometre tuna nets!

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