ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Endangered Bluefin Tuna

Updated on May 22, 2013
bluefin tuna
bluefin tuna

The Bluefin Tuna is a critically endangered species.

For the first time in its history, the United Nations are considering a ban on all tuna fishing in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

The endangered bluefin tuna's population has reduced by a massive 93% in the last thirty years, mainly due to overfishing.

90% of the fished tunas end up as sashimi or sushi in Japanese restaurants the world over. They currently fetch a price of $200-$300 per kilo (2.2lbs).

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Fully adult, the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) are typically between 2 - 4 metres in length, and can weigh up to 680kgs, though the average is 250kgs.

When chasing prey they can reach speeds of up to 100km/hour (62mph), and can accelerate faster than a Porsche!

The name 'tuna' comes from a derirative of the Spanish word 'atun', but only came into accepted usage 100 years ago.

Unlike most other fish, the tuna are warm-blooded and so can regulate their body heat when swimming in bitterly cold waters.

Bluefin tuna fishing video

Over-Fishing of the Bluefin Tuna

Whilst prized by sports fishermen, it is the commercial fishing of bluefin tuna that has reduced their stock numbers by so large a number.

In Europe, French, Italian and Spanish fisherman compete with their North African counterparts for their share of ever-dwindling stocks. In actual fact, Spain, France and Italy's catch account for half of the total allowable global limit.

A massive 90% of their catch gets exported to Japan for very high sums of money.

Many of the fish that end up in Japanese restaurants are immature, the seas having been all but cleansed of the adult populations.

It is believed a tuna larva has a 1 in 40 million chance of reaching adulthood. For those that do survive, they can live for 30 years, being near the top of the oceanic food chain. The only species above them are sharks, some whales and of course, humans.

Bluefin tuna fish breeding

It is believed that 30% of all Atlantic bluefin tuna regularly cross the width of the Atlantic Ocean in search of food, and that it takes them on average just 60 days to complete a crossing, and that some of them even make the crossings several times a year.

The spawning grounds of the Atlantic bluefin tuna have been identified as the eastern Mediterraean area around the Balearic Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. It is widely believed that although the bluefin tuna travels the full width of the Atlantic Ocean, they return to the same spawning area to spawn.

Because they collect in large numbers at this time, they are easily detected by light aircraft which then direct purse seines, special types of trawling fishing boats, to the area to catch all of them, thus reducing their breeding potential further.

Endangered bluefin tuna video


In 2007, researchers from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the body set up to regulate the northern bluefin fishing industry, recommended a worldwide limit on tuna fishing to 15,000 tons. ICCAT then set a limit of double that amount, later further reducing the figure to 22,500 tons,which is still way over the sustainable limit.

Their own scientists now advise them that the global figure should be 7,500 but the latest annual figure puts the actual fishing figure at 60,000 tons.

ICCAT, according to scientists the world over, has been dubbed The International Conspiracy to Catch all Tuna, so poor is their record for actually conserving the species.

What Can be Done?

This March, in the year 2010, CITES, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species meets in Doha, Qatar, to discuss an all out ban on tuna fishing until the tuna stocks recover.

175 countries in attendance will vote on whether or not to implement a ban. To be passed, there must be a two-third majority.

The European Commission representing 27 countries have provisionally agreed to a ban, dependent on the latest report from the ICCAT on fish stock numbers, which unfortunately cannot be considered to be representative of the truth seeing as the true extent of the loss of the North Atlantic Tuna is subject to figure manipulation.

Where money is involved, invariably corruption follows.

Spain, Italy and Malta with huge commercial interests in the bluefin tuna voted against the EC directive, while France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria all backed the plan.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are extremely concerned for the future survival of the bluefin tuna as they have already been made extinct in both the Black and North Seas.



Some countries have opened fish farms, rearing bluefin tuna destined for the food market. Spain is one of those countries as you can see in the video below.

Unfortunately they have not been able to breed them in captivity, so they 'collect' the tuna when they are travelling in shoals and fatten them up in the sea pens erected for them, then shoot them when required.

Again this is huge money making industry into which millions of euros have been invested, but one which will ultimately do nothing for the stocks of tuna in the seas.

Spain's MEP's are at this moment strongly resisting moves by CITES to ban Atlantic shortfin tuna fishing.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Bluefin Tunny (Tuna) 

      10 years ago

      "The Glory Days of the Giant Scarborough Tunny" is a new book published 2010 that takes one from the days of plenty bluefin tunny from 1912, through the 1930-1950's and up to the present day plight. It has 390 high quality pages, with 475+ photos from heyday to present day including captors of fish with their przes nd tackle used to present day concerns over possible comercial or "actual" extinction of the species. The book can be found:

      The hardback publication is available in a standard, numbered edition, limited edition of only 250, priced at £89 + P&P

      It's also available in leather with slip case @£200 + P&P, limited to 20 numbered copies

      The UK ISBN is 978-0-9566375-0-5.

      The book is available from or on Ebay.

      be quick before sold out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    • wetspot profile image


      11 years ago from Great Britain

      please add me to your links and ill do the same

      after wea re all fighting for the same cause

    • gramarye profile image


      11 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      Thanks for this it is very informative - Australia has had problems with this and severely limited the fishing of blue fin. Now I know a little more about the problems

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from UK

      Does puts you off buying tins of tuna, doesn't it?

    • D.A.L. profile image


      11 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi, IzzyM, another informative hub where man is to blame again for the demise of a fellow species.It is good that you are bringing the plight of this species to our attention


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)