Is the bluefin tuna doomed?

Probably. It’s one of the top ocean predators, but it spawns into the water and depends on numbers so that some of its eggs survive mass scavenging by smaller fish. The numbers are dropping while government-subsidizedm, overpopulated fishing industries continue to overfish. And there’s no agreement in sight: “Bad start as European Union rejects fishing quota.”

Europe’s Mediterranean fishing nations have rejected measures to protect the endangered bluefin tuna proposed last month by the European Union fishing chief Maria Damanaki, EU officials said on Thursday…

The total bluefin quota for 2010 was set at 13,500 tonnes and Damanaki said last month that to give the giant fish a real chance of recovery, the 2011 quota should be set at around 6,000 tonnes at the Paris meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

The 10-day ICCAT talks started on Wednesday.

Ms. Damanaki accepted that the need to protect the livelihoods of fishermen would probably dictate a higher quota than 6,000 tonnes. But in a meeting late on Wednesday, EU ambassadors in Brussels, led by France, rebuffed Ms. Damanaki’s proposal and wrote their own, which barely mentions quota reductions.

There’s an appeal and a petition here: “Save the bluefin tuna.” We really can’t afford to destroy the ocean’s ecology. The Japan Sea is seeing ‘blooms’ of giant jellyfish where there aren’t enough fish left to keep their numbers in balance. The jellyfish, in turn, polish off smaller fish and keep the fish stocks from recovering. It’s not a pretty picture!

We need to set a quota and enforce it to stop illegal fishing. The real problem is that no one owns the fish, so everyone can go after them.

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