BOSTON, Mass. Continued mismanagement could force some tuna populations to quickly go the way of cod, a highly threatened fishery that once helped shape economies of whole nations, leading scientists said in the symposium Last Best Chance for Tuna: Learning from the Cod Collapse at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Boston on February 18.
A group of leading natural and social scientists analyzed the lessons learned from cod and recommended urgent actions to prevent further declines in tuna populations. Organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the University of British Columbia, the panel included author Mark Kurlansky, Andrew Rosenberg from the University of New Hampshire, Daniel Pauly and Rashid Sumaila of the University of British Columbia, Barbara Block from Stanford University, Rene Subido from RD Fishing Corporation, and Jose Ingles from WWF.
Just as cod was once perceived as Canadas Newfoundland currency, tuna is largely considered the chicken of the seacheap and plentiful. Where the landed value of cod in Atlantic Canada was at its peak of $1.4 billion in 1968, it dropped to just $10 million by 2004. Trends for some tuna species are cause for concern. In 2001, for example, landed value of yellowfin tuna in the Western Central Pacific Ocean was US$1.9 billion, but three years later it had dropped by more than 40 percent to US$1.1 billion.
Populations of certain tuna species are falling in both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, in some cases despite a host of management strategies, as with bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic. Conventional fisheries wisdom did not work for the northwest Atlantic cod and is now failing for tuna in some cases, said WWFs Katharine Newman, moderator for the panel. We need to find solutions that advocate sustainable fishing starting right at the source like the Coral Triangle down to consumers plates through MSC certification and public awareness.
|Contact: Lee Poston|
World Wildlife Fund