Environmental Issues from a Buddhist Perspective: Bluefin Tuna

Topics: Tuna, Thunnus, Northern bluefin tuna Pages: 6 (2134 words) Published: November 30, 2010
One value in Buddhist teaching is interconnectedness. It discards the notion that people hierarchically are above all other beings. People tend to forget that the world is interconnected and that once we exploit our resources they are gone. As humans control the earth and do with as they please they can an in many cases unintentionally destroy the earth and its natural resources. One environmental issue caused by human impact is the overfishing of the Bluefin Tuna to the point where it has been placed on the critically endangered species list. Bluefin Tuna are being overfished at an alarming rate this human greed from a Buddhist perspective will cause the depletion and over all extinction if nothing is changed.

Bluefin Tuna populations in the Atlantic Ocean have declined over 70 percent in the last thirty years yet because seafood is a global commodity being flown into markets around the world the demand has become unquenchable. Overfishing for Bluefin continues scientist expect the fish to become extinct by 2012 if nothing changes. (PBS.org)

The Bluefin Tuna is a species of Tuna native to both the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean as well as the Mediterranean Sea. This is a relatively large species of fish. A full grown male can average six to eight feet long and can weigh up to 770 pounds, although the Bluefin is capable of reaching over one thousand pounds. Bluefin Tuna are robust and rhomboidal in shape. They have dark blue upper body and grey below with a gold glint covering the body. They also have bright yellow caudal fins. Bluefin can live up to 30 years but due to heavy fishing mortality few specimens grow to a mature age.("Northern Bluefin Tuna")

Bluefin are carnivores in nature they typically hunt small fish and invertebrates such as sardines, herring, mackerel, squid, and crustaceous. ("Northern Bluefin Tuna")
Female Bluefin are though to produce up to forty million eggs. These tuna have two primary spawning grounds. One place exists in the western Mediterranean Sea particularly near the Balearic Islands. Another important spawning site is in the Gulf of Mexico. Satellite images confirm the popular belief that even though the Bluefin resides in deep waters of the Atlantic during mating season they return to one of there two areas to spawn. These tuna group together in a large concentration during mating this makes them more vulnerable to commercial fisherman, especially in the Mediterranean where the groups of tuna can be spotted from air in the translucent waters. ("Northern Bluefin Tuna")

Each summer when the Bluefin Tuna migrate into warmer waters such as the Mediterranean to breed and spawn an ancient tradition called Tonnara is being practiced on the western coast of Sicily. Tonnara is a long fence like net that forces the migrating and sometimes breeding tuna to become trapped in the series of netted chambers. The nets are pulled out and the fish are slaughtered. At one time there were over 200 locations of Tonnara fisheries but now there is barely enough to support two Tonnara. The nets disrupt breeding which makes it hard for Bluefin to reproduce decreasing their numbers they are also captured in these nets quickening there depletion. (PBS.org) Bluefin Tuna is a highly prized food fish Because of this it is a highly sought out fish by fisherman the amount of money a fisherman can make off of one Bluefin is $100,000 at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, Japan. Bluefin Tuna is one of the most highly prized fish in Japan where its sashimi is a particular delicacy. The Bluefin industry in Japan is about a 7.2 billion dollar industry. Japanese on average consume more than 80 percent of all Bluefin captured. The Bluefin cannot reproduce at a fast enough rates to compensate the demand of its flesh. This greed is causing the fish to go extinct. ("Northern Bluefin Tuna")

Despite repeated warning overfishing continues. In 2007, resources from the international commission for the conversation of...
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