Bluefin Tuna

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Introduction

Sushi eat Tuna

Introduction (let’s meet the fish)

The overfishing is a common problem with some species across the sea world. The Bluefin Tuna is one of the hardest hit victim of this fishery. This specie of Tuna is located in the entire North Atlantic ocean but also in seas closed to it such as the Mediterranean sea, but also a strip from the equator until Norway, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Black sea. The Bluefin Tuna is one of the most affected stock by overfishing in the sea world. Indeed, his current stock corresponds to approximately 21% to 29% of what it was in 1970. (Kiger, 2011)

Since the 17th Century, oceans had been governed by «the freedom of the seas». This concept means that there were free to all nations and the property of none. However, some factors have affected stocks by considerably reducing the population. Before 60’s tuna was a substitute for salmon and sardines but since the situation of Tuna has considerably changed. It is currently fished over 70 countries across the world.

The major phenomenon of the 80’s is the growth of the sushi-sashimi market. This new demand has launch a “race to fish”(WWF, 2012). Furthermore, the market value of the Tuna has increased in the same way.The basic price for a kilo of tuna is between 30 and 40$. However, it can easily reach 500$/kg for high quality tuna. In 2001 in the Tokyo Market, a tuna has been sold at 174 000 $ US. Tuna products represent today 9% of the global fish trade for approximately 5 million dollars.

To answer this demand and take a maximum profit from this market, fisheries has improved their fishing technics with the help of new gear technologies such as purse seine nets which scrape the bottom of located areas and leave no chance for tuna. To maximise their profits, they also used aquaculture on seasides. This technic consists to bring them to maturity while the fattening. On the market, these fishes become more valuable because of their size and the quantity of chair. The sell price of a fattened fish can be double compare with a regular one. But there is another major factor that affects the tuna population. Indeed, spills in the area due to human actions have a huge impact on these species who lived usually in seabed. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been considered as one of the most important oil disaster in the petroleum industry history. This catastrophe took place in the Gulf of Mexico where there is a important stock of Bluefin Tuna and scientists continue to observed the effects on the specie. (Barringer, 2011) To answer to all these dangers, the “Law of the Sea” has considerably evolved in order to protect the seabed. States realised the importance and created many organisations. At the end of the Second World War, they have created organisations such as ICCAT in order to insure a fishing sustainability and ensure the equilibrium of the ecosystem by introducing quotas to different nations.

However, it appears complicated to fix a clear overview of population stock due to the fact that it is a highly migratory fish, moreover, scientists recently demonstrate that spacial population structure was different that what we thought before. (Talor, McAllister, Lawson, 2011) This dispersion of the population make even more difficult for these organisations to make an accurate counting and give objective results. And these decisions didn’t stop the evolution, the world tuna catches increased from 15,000 tonnes at the beginning of the 20th Century, to 200,000 tonnes in 1970’s, to 4,3 million tonnes in 2003.

«The main problem of Tuna fishing is the ineffective management.» (WWF, 2012)The lack of effective results lead many non-governmental associations to fight for the cause of Bluefin Tuna. But they have to fight against the government which is under pressure of the fishery industry. And it is on this point that bears all the controversy. The governmental organisations are...
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