Say No To Tuna- from WWF newsletter 8th Aug 09

Posted on August 8th, 2009 in Food,From You-Articles/Tidbits/Gems by Kate Wade

Hi folks- I love tuna but I am not sure I can eat it now considering the following info. I have sent an email to my friends at Zaks who have 2 tuna dishes I love to see if they know whether the source of their tuna is sustainable. Until then for me it is off the menu. Likewise as sushi at any restaurants. k

      Seafood Choice Initiative

Bluefin Tuna in Crisis
Tuna

In Hong Kong, bluefin tuna is better known as a luxurious sushi delicacy than a fish actually on the verge of extinction, due to uncontrolled and indiscriminate exploitation of this migratory mariner including its juveniles. Driven by the fast-growing pursuit of fine-dining globally, all three species of this oceanic giant: southern bluefin tuna (global Southern Ocean), Pacific bluefin tuna (Indo-Pacific Ocean), northern bluefin tuna (Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea) have been largely fished out to satisfy our insatiable taste buds. The rarer they are, the more expensive they become and the closer they are to commercial extinction – which will mean fish will be hard to find for commercial consumption.

There is no alternative to bluefin tuna, as is the case for any other species which is unique on earth. Besides eating it, let’s learn more about this species, one of the fastest swimmers.
tuna © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF
Biology
It takes about 8 to 14 years for northern and southern bluefin tuna to mature and about 3 to 5 years for Pacific tuna. These fishes reproduce and feed in big groups, which makes them particular vulnerable to fishing pressure.

Problems of overfishing
© Michel GUNTHER /WWF-Canon
Of the three bluefin tuna species, northern and southern are currently listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, while the Pacific population is considered overfished as suggested by circumstantial evidences and limited information on stock status. Overall, populations have declined dramatically in the last few decades. Since the 1970s, populations of the northern bluefin tuna have declined by almost 90% while southern bluefin tuna have declined by about 85%.

There is currently no quota system and no way of controlling Pacific bluefin tuna fishing in international waters. A large number of immature Pacific bluefin tuna are caught by small, local fisheries in Japan, pushing this population close to the endangered category.

It’s now or never to save bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna will soon disappear unless urgent action is taken. Members of the public in Hong Kong care, as shown by a survey commissioned by WWF in 2005 where 97% of Cantonese speakers said that they would stop consuming a species if they found out it was endangered. Living in a city that loves seafood, we should be aware of the environmental cost of our incessant and irresponsible pursuit of fine but rare food.

What you can do

As a Hotel/Restaurant, you can…
As a corporate consumer, you can…
As an individual consumer, you can…

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