It’s been said over and over again: Eastern bluefin tuna cannot handle the pressure they face from overfishing. These sleek and powerful fish are unlucky enough to be among the world’s most coveted seafood species, and for years scientists have called for a moratorium as a last-ditch effort to save these genetically pure, irreplaceable creatures. While strict quotas have been in place for years, poor quota enforcement and illegal fishing have driven the bluefin to the brink of extinction.
On Monday, the European Union ended the fishing season for most of the Mediterranean’s purse seine fleet, the ships that are responsible for 70 percent of the Med’s caught tuna. This move could save up to 100,000 bluefin this year alone.
Oceana has been carefully monitoring the purse seine fleet with our new boat, the MarViva Med. We have recorded rarely-seen images of bluefin fattening pens and documented purse seiners illegally using spotter planes in their pursuit of the fish.
I didn’t anticipate that the E.U. would react so quickly and shut down the season well before its original July 1 end date. But our work is far from over. The next step is to make sure that the closure is enforced, and that non-E.U. fishing outfits don’t start targeting tuna as well. We will be watching.
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- Massachusetts Takes a Step Forward For Sharks Posted Fri, July 25, 2014
- Video: Oceana Exposes Illegal Drift Gillnet Use in Italy Posted Mon, July 21, 2014
- Loggerhead Sea Turtles Gain Protection with Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restriction Posted Fri, July 25, 2014
- Ocean News: June 2014 Marked the Hottest on Record, Microplastics Worse for Crabs than Thought, and More Posted Tue, July 22, 2014