May - Bluefin Tuna!
May 2016's spotlight
Bluefin tuna – largest member of the tuna family. Though it's rare to see the legendary giants anymore, these fish can reach 1,500lbs. The name “bluefin" can refer to several species of tuna – all of which are considered a prized catch and becoming very rare due to the grossly unsustainable rate of commercial overfishing. 80% of harvested Pacific and Atlantic bluefin is sold in Japan, where the demand for this dwindling fish has skyrocketed the price to thousands of dollars a pound.
The Atlantic bluefin (Thunnus thynnus) is an endangered species. Despite this, tens of thousands of TONS of Atlantic bluefin are still allowed to be commercially harvested every year, and illegal harvest adds a significant amount to the toll. When the quota was set for 40,000 tons to be taken in 2007, they estimate that commercial vessels actually took 66,000 tons. Scientists at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas say that taking 8,300 tons a year would be sustainable enough for the species to recover, but the quota is always set much higher.
The Pacific bluefin (Thunnus orientalis) is listed as vulnerable. Despite this, tens of thousands of tons of these fish are commercially harvested every year, about 90% of them juveniles who never even had a chance to help repopulate the species.
The southern bluefin (Thunnus maccoyii) is critically endangered, yet again, thousands of tons of these fish are allowed to be commercially harvested every year, with the bulk of the catch being sold in Japan.
And then there is all the bycatch. Sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, birds, and billfish are only part of the long list of animals that are needlessly killed and dumped in the name of expensive sushi.
Having seafood? Please don't order the endangered species. If you can find a place in your heart to help conserve the ocean and it's creatures for future generations: don't support commercial harvest and massive-scale exploitation of this animal. Raise awareness by telling your friends about the fishies.
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