July 13th, 2010 by Zachary Shahan
Industrial fishing fleets can catch fish in numbers unimaginable to fishermen a few decades ago. The capabilities are more than unimaginable, though. They are also unsustainable.
With bluefin tuna on the brink of extinction, fishing quotas are set for these giants of the sea in the European Union. But annual quotas can be caught in one week’s time, as is evidenced this year in the Mediterranean, due to the high-tech nature and overcapacity of the most modern fishing fleets.
“This early closure of the EU’s Atlantic bluefin tuna purse seine fishery does not point to recovery of the fish – it points to the gross overcapacity of fleets,” said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean.
“Purse seiners are so hyper efficient they leave no chance to the tunas they target in the peak spawning period when the fish are at their most fragile.”
The WWF, concerned about the unsustainable nature of these “purse seiners” (which sit at the port for 50 weeks out of the year and would be financially unsustainable if not built with government subsidies), is now looking to start phasing these out in the Mediterranean.
“WWF is calling for an immediate phase-out of purse seining in this fishery – and will use every lever at its disposal to push members of ICCAT when they meet in November in Paris to set the scrapping process in motion at once.”
Help Save Bluefin Tuna
Bluefin tuna are on the brink of extinction.
They are the fastest (swimming up to 55 miles per hour) and among the largest fish in the ocean, live up to 30 years, and are seldom seen by people snorkeling or diving because they live in deep water, but they are being overfished.
Sea Shepherd Founder and Captain, Paul Watson, has now taken up protecting these amazing creatures, but you can do your part, too.
Care2 has an online petition to try to address this major issue. It has 9,861 signatures at this point and you can help it reach its target of 15,000 by signing the petition today.
“Take action to help protect the beautiful bluefin tuna and the oceans they swim in. Ask the Bureau of Ocean Energy (formerly the Minerals Management Service) and National Marine Fisheries Service to take all conservation measures necessary to protect and restore robust populations of bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico,” Care2 says.
Take action now and help this magnificent creature to recover.
Photo Credit: lizardwisdom via flickr
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