Tell Canada: Let Bluefin Tuna Off the Hook

  • by: Center for Biological Diversity
  • target: The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment & The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Atlantic bluefin tuna need your help to recover. Extremely compromised population sizes, along with threats from global warming, ocean acidification and overfishing, have pushed this giant, warm-blooded fish ever closer to extinction.

Canada -- home to important fall feeding waters for bluefin -- is an important player in bluefin revival. Atlantic bluefin tuna were designated by the Canadian government as endangered in May 2011, and now Canada is making a critical decision on whether to grant legal protections for the fish.

Although overfishing has been linked to one of the greatest factors in the decline of bluefin tuna populations, the fishing industry vocally opposes protections for this depleted species. The high value of bluefin tuna has prevented a stronger recovery plan up till now.

Help give these giants a break from fishing so their endangered population can begin to recover. Tell Canada to give full protections for Atlantic bluefin tuna.
I urge the Canadian government to end overfishing of Atlantic bluefin tuna by granting protections under the Species at Risk Act. Threatened by climate change, overfishing and pollution, this long-lived giant ocean predator needs a respite to recover to healthy levels. Waiting is not an option; the threats are increasing, while the population has shown minimal recovery in the past 40 years of controlled fishing.

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In 2012, since the assessment of Atlantic bluefin tuna as "endangered," scientists have continued to sound alarm bells over the status of the population.

The recreational bluefin tuna fishery in the United States increasingly relies on Mediterranean-origin bluefin tuna, not those spawning in the Gulf of Mexico, for its catch. This is a warning bell that the western Atlantic population is in trouble.

Also, at low abundances, Atlantic bluefin tuna seem unable to compensate, or increase offspring production, to speed their recovery. This could explain why western Atlantic bluefin tuna have not recovered in spite of the past decade of reduced fishing and suggests that continued fishing is counterproductive once the population falls below 40 percent of its maximum adult population.

Finally, and most worrisome, U.S. government scientists predict that due to climate change, areas in the Gulf of Mexico with high probabilities of larval occurrence in the late spring (i.e. areas conducive to spawning) will decrease by 93 percent to 96 percent by the end of the 21st century.

Atlantic bluefin tuna can and will recover if given the chance. Please take action now to end fishing until Atlantic bluefin tuna is no longer endangered.
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