The Beacon

Blog Tags: Bluefin Tuna

ICCAT Moves to Properly Manage Bluefin Tuna, but Doesn’t Take Action for Sharks and Swordfish

ICCAT protected bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna (Thynnus thynnus), pictured an Oceana Marviva Med Mediterranean Expedition in 2008. (Photo: Oceana / Keith Ellenbogen)

Earlier this month, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) concluded its meeting in Genoa, Italy to discuss protections for various marine species, including bluefin tuna, sharks, and swordfish. At the same time, the IUCN World Parks Congress concluded its once-a-decade meeting with new protections for marine habitat and other developments for the ocean.


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Ocean Roundup: Big Bluefin Tuna Gain Protection from Fisheries, Commercial Fishermen Quickly Losing Consumer Trust, and More

NOAA made amendments to its bluefin tuna management plan

Bluefin tuna (Thynnus thynnus) gained protection in the U.S. recently. (Photo: Oceana / Keith Ellenbogen)

- NOAA recently made amendments to its bluefin tuna management plan in an effort to reduce the number of bluefin tuna killed by commercial fishing vessels. The new rules say that commercial fishermen cannot catch giant bluefin tuna—fish longer than 81 inches—in the Gulf of Mexico or western Atlantic. NPR


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Oceana Magazine: Tuna in Trouble

Bluefin tuna are threatened by oil and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.

A bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the Mediterranean. (Photo: Oceana / Keith Ellenbogen)

The Atlantic bluefin tuna made an incredible recovery after decades of overfishing. Now, seismic airgun testing in the Mediterranean Sea threatens to unravel progress that was made for this super predator. This article was originally published in the summer 2014 issue of Oceana magazine, and the full excerpt can be viewed here.


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CEO Note: Another Chlorine Plant Goes Mercury-Free

Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the Mediterranean

Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) in the Mediterranean. (Photo: Oceana / Keith Ellenbogen)

We all know that seafood is good for you, and that fish is high in heart-healthy omega-3s. And I’m sure you’ve also heard warnings about mercury levels in certain species of fish, especially if you or anyone you know is starting a family. But you might not know that the chlorine industry was a major source of mercury released to our environment.


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Ocean News: New Arctic Shipping Route Proposed, East Coast Sees Surge in Coastal Flooding Events, and More

Arctic sea ice

Arctic Ocean sea ice. (Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A new analysis focusing on sea level rise found that coastal flooding has dramatically increased in frequency along the Eastern Seaboard in recent years. The analysis found that flood levels met or exceeded NOAA’s flood thresholds more than 20 days a year in six coastal cities. Reuters


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CEO Note: Spanish Mediterranean Threatened By Seismic Airguns

(Photo: Oceana / Juan Cuetos)

I wrote to you recently about the U.S. government’s plans to allow seismic airguns in the U.S. Atlantic. This technology, used to search for oil and gas deposits, could injure an estimated 138,200 dolphins and whales and usher in offshore oil drilling. A similar battle is occurring across the Atlantic, where the Spanish government is planning to open 45 percent of the Spanish Mediterranean to seismic surveys, putting local ecosystems and economies at serious risk.


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BP Deepwater Horizon Spill Damages Heart Development in Fish

(Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

A disturbing finding on the effects of oil spill was announced on Monday, as the 4-year commemoration of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill approaches. A recent study found that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—known to be associated with cancers—generated from the oil spill caused heart defects in commercially important tuna and amberjack.


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Good News for Bluefin Tuna, Bad News for Sharks

Today in Morocco the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) wrapped up. Contrary to its name, the ICCAT oversees more than just tuna, regulating a variety of highly migratory fish including several kinds of shark in the Atlantic and surrounding seas.

The takeaway from this year's ICCAT meeting was two-fold: for the beleaguered bluefin tuna which has been subject to extremely high fishing pressure in recent decades ICCAT acted prudently, leaving 2013 catch limits largely the same, even as tuna stocks showed signs of recovery. It was a welcome development from an organization that has sometimes put the interests of the fishing industry ahead of those of the fish.

But for vulnerable and largely unregulated species of shark like the porbeagle and shortfin Mako, ICCAT sat on its hands, rejecting measures that would set limits on mako and failing to adopt science-based proposals to protect endangered porbeagles.

In the New York Times Green blog, Oceana Europe fisheries campaign manager Maria Jose Cornax called the inaction on sharks “a baffling, contradictory approach".

"ICCAT must remove its blinders and look beyond this one fish [bluefin tuna] to the many other stocks for which it is responsible,” she said.

Shark expert and Oceana Europe marine wildlife scientist Dr. Allison Perry condemned the abandonment of sharks at this year’s meeting.

“ICCAT has failed to assume their responsibility for managing shark fisheries in the Atlantic. Allowing stocks to become seriously depleted, and then prohibiting their capture does not qualify as responsible management. Sharks represent more than 15% of all reported catches in ICCAT, yet most sharks caught in ICCAT fisheries remain completely unmanaged.”

Learn more about the unique threats faced by sharks and what you can do to help.


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Bad News, Good News for the Oceans

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s start with the bad:

In a new report released this week, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) warns that ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”.

The preliminary report from IPSO is the result of the first-ever interdisciplinary international workshop examining the combined impact of all of the stressors currently affecting the oceans, including pollution, warming, ocean acidification, overfishing and hypoxia.

It turns out that the confluence of overfishing, pollution and climate change is worse than previously thought, as Oceana’s Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist Mike Hirshfield explains to CBS News in this clip:

OK, now for the good news: Juliet Eilperin reports that despite all the aforementioned threats facing the oceans, some areas still teem with life, such as the eastern Pacific’s California Current.


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Vote to Protect Mediterranean Seamounts!

Oceana could win 30.000€ (more than $40,000) to protect threatened seamounts in the Mediterranean, but only if you vote!


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