The fight to save Pacific bluefin tuna from overfishing—which continues unabated due to inadequate management measures—needs all the support it can get. That’s why Pew never misses an opportunity to remind people that the stock has been depleted by more than 97 percent from unfished levels and that managers have not stopped commercial fleets in the Pacific Ocean from fishing at a rate three times higher than scientists say is sustainable. The Pacific bluefin is in serious trouble and needs immediate action if there will ever be hope for a healthy population or fishery in the future.
Thankfully, we’re not the only voice repeating this urgent message.
On July 19, Pew called for a two-year moratorium on commercial fishing of Pacific bluefin. We also asked supporters to write to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to urge the agency to institute such a ban and encourage other nations do the same. Within 24 hours, more than 10,000 people added their names and support to the cause. Since then, at least 1,200 more have urged NOAA to act.
There is still an opportunity to save Pacific bluefin tuna, but time is running short. The commercial fishing moratorium would end overfishing immediately, allow the population to begin recovering, and give fishery managers time to adopt an oceanwide rebuilding plan.
The science is clear. The solutions are evident. And now, with thanks to the many people speaking up and taking action for the Pacific bluefin, the U.S. government is getting the message loud and clear as well.
Amanda Nickson directs Pew’s global tuna conservation work.