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Mon Jun 29, 2015, 01:14 PM

Speeding to extinction? The fate of Pacific bluefin tuna may be decided this week

Speeding to extinction? The fate of Pacific bluefin tuna may be decided this week

By Melissa Cronin June 29 2015

Pacific bluefin tuna are hurtling toward extinction, and a meeting of the minds in Ecuador this week may be their last hope.

The meeting, set for Guayaquil, the county's largest and most populous city, is bringing together representatives from member countries of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), the organisation that governs management of Pacific tuna fisheries. One of their main goals: to figure out how to prevent one of the world’s most valuable fisheries from collapsing.

The past decade has been a disastrous one for Pacific bluefin tuna. Listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), its populations are at just 4 percent of what they were before commercial fishers began capturing them by the thousands. Now, according to a recent study, only about 40,000 adult Pacific bluefin tuna remain.

“If we keep on this track, it’s bad news,” warns Oceana's Max Bello. “We can only expect crash of this stock.”

The Ecuador gathering, to be held from June 29 to July 3, is a chance for countries to agree to enact catch quotas that could save the Pacific bluefin. Failure to do so could lead to their collapse.


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