The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna population is being fished to extinction.
Longlines are a staple technology used by industrial fishing fleets to catch Western Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico. Longline sets average 30 miles in length, with tens of thousands of baited hooks and are highly efficient at catching the target fish. Unfortunately, they are just as efficient at catching virtually everything else in the local ecosystem, including sea birds, dolphins, sea turtles and sharks.
At the same time, research indicates that the very target species that the longliners pursue–the majestic bluefin tuna–is in catastrophic decline. As adult fish are being taken in high numbers by the longline fleets, pollution and the Horizon Deepwater Oil Spill have reduced larval fish concentrations in the Gulf. Likewise, the demand for sushi is putting a bounty on the take of immature bluefin.
At every stage of its life, the species is under assault from human exploitation.
However, you now have the opportunity to help reform fisheries management policy in order to save Atlantic bluefin tuna from extinction.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is accepting comments on proposed changes that can help protect this species, but some proposed changes could even undermine protection.
Take action and demand that NOAA take a hard line against overfishing, unsustainable longlining and unrealistic quotas and help save these magnificent fish from extinction.
David McGuire, MPH
Director, Shark Stewards