The Overfishing of Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna

by Dani Escontrela, RJD Intern

Bluefin tuna is the most valuable fish species in the world. Their numbers, however, have greatly decreased in recent years due to their high demand. In fact, in 2001 “one 202 kilogram bluefin tuna caught off the northern coast of Oma, Japan sold at the Tsukiji market for 862 USD/kg” (Shamshak et al 2009). The bluefin tuna has life history traits that make it more susceptible to overfishing: they reproduce at a later age, they reproduce when they are of larger size, and they aggregate when they are going to spawn (Longo et al 2012). In addition, like many other species in the ocean, they are susceptible to industrial pollution. As the fishing of this species has continued without many regulations to protect them, their numbers have greatly declined. In fact the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICAAT) predicts that a collapse in the fish stock in the near future is inevitable (Longo et al 2012).

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