Earth Science News  





.
WATER WORLD
Sushi wars: fight looms over bluefin tuna

Tuna: if it's affordable, it's not bluefin
Paris (AFP) Nov 14, 2010 - Here's a handy rule-of-thumb for conservation-minded sushi lovers worried about accidentally eating bluefin tuna: if it's not wildly expensive, its not bluefin. In Japan, which consumes 80 percent of the Atlantic bluefin catch every year, a single, bite-sized morsel can easily set you back 20 euros (28 dollars). Five main species of tuna make up the annual worldwide catch of 4.0 to 4.5 million tonnes, and bluefin -- Thunnus thynnus -- is less than one percent of the total, some 24,000 tonnes in 2008. Chances are that the raw tuna in your 10-euro (14-dollar) lunch platter, whether in London, Hong Kong, New York or Sydney, is either yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) or bigeye (Thunnus obesus). They make up 24 and 10 percent of the global tuna market respectively. The most common "chicken of the sea" is not, strictly speaking, even a member of the Thunnus family: skipjack, or Katsuwonus pelamis, accounts for 60 percent of all tuna caught each year, some 2.41 million tonnes.

A lot of it winds up in tins, destined for the US and British markets, along with Europe, Australia and Japan. Much Thunnus alalunga, better known as albacore, is also destined for supermarket shelves. Taking all five species together, half the yearly haul is caught in the western Pacific, a quarter in the Indian Ocean, 16 percent in the eastern Pacific and nine percent in the Atlantic. Japan reels in the biggest catch, more than half-a-million tonnes each year, followed closed by Taiwan. Indonesia is in third place with nearly 350,000 tonnes, followed by the Philippines, Spain, Korea and Papua New Guinea, which all catch between 200,000 and 300,000 tonnes of tuna annually.

France, with a large fleet in the Indian Ocean, is in eighth place with about 180,000 tonnes. More than 80 percent of the 500,000-tonne market for fish consumed raw is in Japan, served as is (sashimi) or wrapped in seaweed and with rice (sushi). Americans have also acquired a taste for uncooked fish, accounting for nine percent, followed by Korea, China, the European Union and Taiwan. Conservationists caution that the ravenous global appetite for tuna could push other species besides bluefin into dangerous waters, driving up prices and forcing the introduction of quotas to ensure sustainability. In 1950, the global fishery caught only 700,000 tonnes of the five main species. In 1970 that figure rose to 1.1 million, in 1990 to 2.9 million, and in 2008 to about 4.2 million. "Scientists estimate that, at the current rate, we will virtually empty the seas of big fish by 2030," said Sue Lieberman, policy director for the Washington-based Pew Environment Group.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Nov 14, 2010
Nations gather this week to decide how many Atlantic bluefin tuna they can extract from the sea without destroying the multi-billion dollar business that keeps Japan supplied in gourmet sushi and sashimi.

The highly charged debate pits dug-in economic interests against mounting concern that the gleaming, fatty fish is teetering close to the edge of viability.

Industrial-scale fishing in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic over the last four decades has depleted stocks by 85 percent, scientists say.

The reason is not hard to find: a single specimen of Thunnus thynnus, which can grow to two metres (six feet) and weigh 400 kilos (900 pounds), can fetch over 100,000 euros (137,00 dollars) in Japanese wholesale markets.

Conservationists warn that stocks will collapse unless the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), meeting in Paris for ten days from Wednesday, suspends or sharply reduces catches long enough for the species to recover.

The total catch limit, distributed mainly among six Mediterranean rim nations dominated by France, Spain and Italy, was 13,500 tonnes in 2010.

They also say the 48-nation body is riddled with fraud, a claim bolstered by recent investigative reports and France's admission in 2007 that its catch for that year was more than double the authorized limit.

"There is so much illegal fishing going on that the only responsible thing to do is to suspend the fishery, get it sorted out, and then open it slowly so the species can recover," said Sue Lieberman, policy director for the US-based Pew Environment Group.

Industry representatives, backed by their governments, say ICCAT has cracked down on renegade fishing in the last three years by adding independent on-board inspectors and an improved ship-to-market tracking system.

ICCAT scientists, they point out, recently concluded that a 13,500-tonne annual quota for the period 2011-2013 "will likely allow the stock to increase during that period".

And that would put the species on track for a 60-percent chance of achieving a so-called "maximum sustainable yield" by 2022, they argue.

"That's still a 40-percent chance of failure," countered Chantal Juoanno, French junior minister for ecology.

"If that happens, there are no more tuna, and no more fisheries," she told AFP last week.

Even so, French fisheries minister, Bruno Le Maire, announced later the same day that France favoured rolling over the 2010 quota at least one more year "to guarantee a good balance between resources ... and the interests of fishermen."

The European Union is also beset by the same policy tug-of-war.

Last month EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki proposed to cut the 2011 quota by more than half to 6,000 tonnes, a level consistent with a 97-percent change of sustainability by 2022.

The next day, however, she backtracked after fierce opposition from some member states, calling instead for "a substantial reduction."

The EU has yet to adopt a common position ahead of this week's meeting.

Privately, most green groups are not optimistic that ICCAT will halve next year's catch, much less suspend it entirely.

But other critical conservation measures, they say, may stand a better chance of being adopted.

One is the creation of sanctuaries in the two known spawning grounds for Atlantic bluefin tuna, in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico.

They also expect ICCAT to tighten data reporting and compliance in order to curtail "illegal, unreported and unregulated" fishing.

"This meeting is a critical test for ICCAT's credibility," commented Michael Hirshfield, chief scientist for the US-based advocacy group Oceana.

Led by Japan -- which consumes 80 percent of the Atlantic bluefin catch -- many ICCAT nations lobbied fiercely earlier this year to reject a ban on international trade under the UN, arguing that ICCAT could manage stocks.

"Now it is up to them to show that they meant it, by actually supporting conservation decisions," Hirshfield said.

Pressure is also building to set catch limits for several species of sharks, some of which have been listed as globally "endangered" and "vulnerable" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Tens of millions of sharks including the mako and the oceanic white tip, are killed every year. They are prized by Chinese gourmets for their fins.




Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics



Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
WATER WORLD
Environmentalists urge action at tuna talks
Washington (AFP) Nov 11, 2010
Environmentalists on Thursday urged the European Union to lead the way to protect tuna at upcoming talks in Paris, voicing worries about inaction on the lucrative mainstay of sushi. The 48-member International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas meets from November 17 and 27 in the French capital, with the United States and European Union executive arm supporting cuts in catch ... read more

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  


WATER WORLD
'Data geek' brings algorithms to online charity auctions

Up to six more months of Pakistan flood water: EU official

WFP needs to urgently feed 50,000 of Benin flood victims

Pakistan taxes own citizens to raise money for flood relief

WATER WORLD
Tetris Flashback Reduction Effect Not Common To All Game

Original Apple 1 computer to be auctioned

All Systems Nominal Aboard LM BSAT-3b Satellite

EOS Welcomes Australian-US Partnership To Track Space Junk

WATER WORLD
Argentine Supreme Court freezes border river dam plans

Leaking Underground CO2 Storage Could Contaminate Drinking Water

Tuna: if it's affordable, it's not bluefin

Arabs face severe water crisis by 2015

WATER WORLD
Report warns of dangers of Arctic drilling

Russian Drifting Polar Station SP-38 Opens In Chukchi Sea

Increased Arctic Shipping Could Accelerate Climate Change

Is The Ice At The South Pole Melting

WATER WORLD
Russia, Japan, China firms in billion dollar fertiliser deal

Gene Discovery Suggests Way To Engineer Fast-Growing Plants

Large land deals a threat to farmers: U.N.

Scientists Launch Global Scheme To Boost Rice Yields While Reducing Damage To Environment

WATER WORLD
Two dead as rain batters Belgium

Deadly Indonesian volcano eases off: government

Villagers trickle home as Indonesia volcano toll nears 250

Sri Lanka floods recede, two perish

WATER WORLD
Soldiers fire on Central Africa crowd, three wounded

Separatists attack Angolan army convoy

Iran FM holds talks in Nigeria after illegal arms shipment

Armies of Sudan north, south do not want war: ministers

WATER WORLD
The Brains Of Neanderthals And Modern Humans Developed Differently

Talking numbers with children helps math

Differences In Human And Neanderthal Brains Set In Just After Birth

Brain Trumps Hand In Stone Age Tool Study


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement