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12 September 2009

Bluefin Tuna an endangered species

The next time you plan to order your tuna sushi or sashimi, think again: the bluefin tuna is an endangered species. While the World Wildlife Fund has identified the Mediterranean bluefin tuna as an endangered species, its other cousins such as the North Atlantic bluefin tuna, the Pacific bluefin tuna and the southern bluefin tuna have also seen alarming population decline. The fish is being caught mainly due to the huge demand for the delectable Japanese dishes sushi and sashimi.

The alarm was raised since 2006 of the rapid decline of bluefin tuna population but had been largely met with inaction. What we need now is awareness that this fish is in danger of extinction and WWF has recommended temporary ban on its fishing. Not controlled fishing, not fish farming, but a ban on the trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna.

While we are undeniably at the other side of the world, technological developments in the systematic fishing, freezing and transportation of goods worldwide has made distance a small hurdle. So we have to make sure that we do not consume Atlantic bluefin tuna by checking the source (by asking the manager of the restaurant where their tuna comes from, or checking the label of canned goods). If in doubt, don't purchase/order; the Pacific bluefin tuna is also being overfished so why not steer clear of tuna altogether? Let's do our part and be vigilant of bluefin tuna products: fresh, canned or cooked.

Related links:
World Wildlife Fund (and photo credit)
Greenpeace calls on governments to support a ban on Bluefin Tuna Trade

(cross-posted at watson)

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