The Last of the Bluefin Tuna?

Publication: The Atlantic

Author: Barry Estabrook

11/13/2009 - There is a strong likelihood that someone in this generation will be the last human to eat a bluefin tuna. By most scientific accounts, the species hovers on the brink of extinction, if it hasn't already crossed that line.

Should bluefin disappear, much of the blame should go to an organization called the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), although Carl Safina of the Blue Ocean Institute gave what some consider a more appropriate name, the International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna. There are now only about 34,000 tuna swimming in the entire western Atlantic, down 82 percent from 1960s levels when the commission started "managing" the fishery.

ICCAT, which has 48 member countries, has been meeting this week in Porto de Galinhas, Brazil, to go through its annual charade of setting catch limits. They will be unveiled when it adjourns on Sunday.

I telephoned Dr. Susan Lieberman of the Pew Environment Group, who is attending the session, to see how things were going. She answered just as she was leaving the conference room and heading out to dinner. I'm not sure whether she sounded more frustrated or pessimistic. In an address to the ICCAT delegates earlier in the week, Lieberman couldn't have been more clear about her group's catch-limit recommendation for Atlantic bluefins: zero.

Read the full article The Last of the Bluefin Tuna? on the Atlantic's Web site

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