The predatory Pacific bluefin tuna can outswim just about any other fish in the ocean. But it can’t outswim the nets and hooks of humans, who are overfishing the species.
Highly desired as a delicacy in sushi restaurants, Pacific bluefin tuna populations have declined by 96 percent from their levels before fishing began. Fishermen are stunting the tuna populations by catching them before they reach breeding age.
Some people will pay a lot of money for the vanishing fish. Prize bluefin tuna routinely sell for tens of thousands of dollars each at Japanese fish auctions.
Humans depend on fish and oceans for survival. The decline of Pacific bluefin tuna symbolizes an overfishing problem that threatens many communities.
“We need to put an end to overfishing by ensuring that every fish that makes it to market is caught legally in a way that’s reported and traceable,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in 2014. “And we need to do a better job of protecting our ocean’s fish stocks, which play a critical role in economic security for millions of family and in food security for millions more.”
The world is waking up to the importance of preserving fisheries. That’s why World Fisheries Day is marked by organizations and countries every November 21. The State Department and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agree and are committed to protecting fisheries around the globe.