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Bluefin Swim Toward Extinction

Politicking produces bad management of big tuna
By Michael Roston,  Newser User
Posted Nov 1, 2008 8:03 AM CDT
Bluefin Swim Toward Extinction
Fishermen unload a bluefin tuna in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, Canada, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007.    (AP Photo/Andrew Vaughan, The Canadian Press)

(Newser) – Bluefin tuna are disappearing from the Atlantic and Mediterranean because of overfishing and an ineffectual world agency that's failed in its sole mission of protecting the fish, the Economist reports. Up to 60,000 tons are hauled in each year, legally or otherwise, when the limit should long have been 15,000 tons. Even if fishing was halted now—and the current plan calls for only a gradual reduction—the population will collapse, a new report says.

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Nations that catch bluefin will convene a meeting of the agency, called ICCCAT, in November, to discuss the crisis. Researchers are urging them to consider a bluefin moratorium, and some nations such as Japan and Spain have signaled support. But getting all 46 nations, many of whom are more worried about their fishermen, to agree on concrete action is difficult. Which could be why critics call it the “International Conspiracy to Catch All Tunas.” (Read more bluefin tuna stories.)

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