Where Have All the Bluefin Tuna Gone?

As the song by Pete Seeger asked, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” we may soon be singing the same thing about the bluefin tuna. If fishing for the bluefin keeps going as it is now, soon there may be no more bluefin tuna.
According to the article “Save the Fish” by Gywnne Dyer, Stanford University has a program called Tag-a-Giant. The university pays those catching the bluefin in the Atlantic and Mediterranean $1,000 for each tag returned, but only $500 goes to the fishermen in the Pacific. The university tagged 600 bluefin in the North Pacific. Of these 600 tags, 300 have been returned.
In order for the ban to take effect the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) “…needs a two-thirds majority of the 175 member states…” in order for the bluefin to be placed on the endangered species list. It will also take the same majority of votes if it ever comes to pass that bluefin is no longer endangered.
The Mediterranean is where the greatest number of bluefin is caught; the reason being is the Mediterranean is where most of them breed.
Several of the countries within the European Union are against the ban. France and Italy have both asked for stipulations that allow for them to fish locally, and the tuna will only be used for “local consumption”. As Dyer points out, that does not change the number of tuna being caught or the number of fishermen fishing the giants. It only changes whether or not the tuna will be exported to place like Japan. Since the price of tuna sells for a whopping $350 per pound in Japan this could cause tuna to end up on the black market. Not only does Japan feast on 80% of the tuna caught, plus they disapprove of the ban this makes black marketing a possibility.

Carol Fleury