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Double jeopardy: Tuna and billfish
Date:7/24/2011

MIAMI July 25, 2011 A new study by top global fisheries experts presents an alarming assessment of several economically important fish populations. The analysis of 61 species of "scombrids," which include tunas, bonitos, mackerels and Spanish mackerels, and billfishes, which include swordfish and marlins, classified seven as threatened with extinction and four as "near threatened" for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science associate professor, and assistant director of NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) David Die and colleagues scientifically evaluated the species population and conservation status under the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, which is the most widely accepted system for classifying extinction risk at the species level.

"The IUCN assessments provide us with a different view of the conservation status of marine resources, when compared to that provided by fishery management organizations," said Die, who has studied highly migratory tuna and billfish for more than 12 years.

Die conducts research on highly migratory tunas and billfish and regularly contributes to assessments of Atlantic billfish and Atlantic tropical tunas. He contributed information on abundance trends and biological parameters for the Atlantic species of large tunas and billfish to this recent IUCN review study.

Of the 61 known species, seven are classified in a "threatened" category, being at serious risk of extinction. Four species are listed as "near threatened" and nearly two-thirds have been placed in the "least concern" category.

According to the IUCN, there is growing concern that in spite of the healthy status of several epipelagic (those living near the surface) fish stocks some scombrid and billfish species are being heavily overfished, and there is a lack of resolve to protect against overexploitation driven b
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Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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