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posted by martyb on Sunday September 12, @09:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the sushi-news dept.

Good news for tuna as they bounce back from the brink of extinction:

There’s good news for the tuna you’re used to seeing in supermarkets, like Atlantic and Southern bluefin. These and two other species are showing signs of recovery from overfishing.

They have been hunted by commercial fishing companies for decades but now it’s hoped they might not go extinct, as previously feared.

The news comes from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which has just released an update to its Red List.

This list shows the extinction risk of thousands of species around the world. Unfortunately, more than 38,000 species are still facing the threat of extinction, but there were signs of recovery for some.

In 2011, most species of tuna were considered to be at serious risk of extinction. With 6 million tonnes[*] thought to have been caught in 2019, these are some of the most commercially valuable fish in the world.

In this update, the status of seven commonly fished tuna species was reassessed and there was good news for four of them.

The Atlantic bluefin tuna moved from Endangered to Least Concern and the Southern bluefin became Endangered rather than Critically Endangered. Both albacore and yellowfin tunas went from being Near Threatened to Least Concern.

“These Red List assessments are proof that sustainable fisheries approaches work, with enormous long-term benefits for livelihoods and biodiversity,” says Dr Bruce B Collette, chair of the IUCN SSC Tuna and Billfish Specialist Group.

“We need to continue enforcing sustainable fishing quotas and cracking down on illegal fishing.”

[*] That's 6 billion kilograms (~ 7.2 billion pounds). By comparison, there are approximately 7.8 billion people on earth, from infants to geriatrics. However you look at it, that's a lot of fish!

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday September 12, @06:22PM (1 child)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday September 12, @06:22PM (#1177262)

    Ever see the movies of tuna boats from the early 1900s? Tiny boats with guys hauling in huge tuna one after another, massive schools easily harvested.

    Then it got harder - did the tuna get smarter? Probably not, more like: less tuna, harder to catch a tuna.

    Tuna hunting methods improved dramatically over the next 50-80 years, and still it got harder and harder to catch a tuna.

    While exact "headcount" of anything living in the open ocean is clearly impossible today, they do have methods to estimate populations, and even though those methods are flawed they are a reasonable indication of population trends.

    All models are flawed, some are useful. They asked for a reduction in the tuna harvest. Did everyone comply? Of course not. Did a lot of tuna fishers comply? It would seem so. Population estimates are now on the rise. Species like tuna which spawn thousands of eggs per female per season can rebound their populations fairly quickly from hunting pressure.

    What tuna and most other species can't rebound quickly from is habitat (basically food web) degradation. The longer that continues, the fewer of these happy stories of species coming back from the brink of oblivion will be heard.

    John Galt is a selfish crybaby [].
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, @11:03PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, @11:03PM (#1177324)

    I'd prefer to think there is a global cabal pedo-scientists led by JJJina looking to take away our Bibles.