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WWF: Mediterranean Bluefin Will be Gone by 2012

by the Fish Site Editor
17 April 2009, at 1:00am

ITALY - As the Mediterraneans bloated fishing fleets ready themselves for the opening of the bluefin tuna fishery tomorrow, WWF has released an analysis showing that the bluefin breeding population will disappear by 2012 under the current fishing regime.

Global conservation organization WWF reveals that the population of breeding tunas has been declining steeply for the past decade – and will be wiped out completely in 3 years if fisheries managers and decision-makers keep ignoring the warnings from scientists that fishing must stop.

“Mediterranean bluefin tuna is on the slippery slope to collapse, and here is the data to prove it,” said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at WWF Mediterranean. “Whichever way you look at it, the Mediterranean bluefin tuna collapse trend is dramatic, it is alarming, and it is happening now.

“WWF has no choice but to again urge the immediate closure of this fishery.”

The population of tunas that are capable of reproducing – fish aged four years or over and weighing more than 35kg – is being wiped out. In 2007 the proportion of breeding tuna was only a quarter of the levels of 50 years ago, with most of the decline happening in recent years.

Meanwhile, the size of mature tunas has more than halved since the 1990s. The average size of tuna caught off the coast of Libya, for example, has dropped from 124kg in 2001 to only 65kg last year. Data gathered by WWF show that this pattern has been observed across the entire Mediterranean.

the Fish Site Editor