International Conspiracy to Catch All Tunas

2 11 2008

tuna-660x433Otherwise known as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) based in Madrid, ICCAT is charged with “the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas”. However, according to a paper entitled Impending collapse of bluefin tuna in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean to forthcoming in Conservation Letters (read post about the journal here) by Brian MacKenzie of the Technical University of Denmark, they don’t seem to be doing their job very well.

In perhaps the best example of the plundering of the seas for overt profit instead of food provision per se, the north-east Atlantic and Mediterranean population of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) has been overfished and will continue to decline to near extinction if the harvest isn’t stopped immediately and for several years to come.

Chronically obese probability.

The demand (and money) associated with tuna harvest appears to negate all scientific evidence that the population is in serious trouble – because of us. The Economist recently featured the paper’s results and therein quoted the opinion of independent ICCAT reviewers who described the situation as “an international disgrace” (read full article here).

I want to list MacKenzie et al.’s paper forthcoming in Conservation Letters as a ‘Potential‘ here at, but I doubt it will change the tuna’s situation that much, and it may only ruffle a few European (and Japanese) feathers (scales?). Who knows? Perhaps the paper will result in a massive down-scaling of the harvest and some serious commitment to REAL tuna conservation.

CJA Bradshaw

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