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Photo of the Week (1/25/10)

 

Wrangling with Tuna Issues
Tuna Ranching
Marco Carè/Marine Photobank
Tuna ranching involves the capture of young, small tuna that are then held in net pens, such as these northern bluefin in the Mediterranean, as they are fattened on wild-caught sardines and anchovies, a practice that requires more than 20 pounds (more than 9 kilograms) of wild fish to grow one pound (nearly half a kilogram) of tuna. Because fisheries are managed based on tonnage, catching smaller tuna means catching more individuals that can then be fattened, fetching a higher price per fish. However, this also depletes the next generation of breeding tuna.

Bluefin tuna in the Northern Atlantic are being pushed toward extinction. At the 2009 International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) meeting, the catch size was reduced from 32,000 to 13,500 metric tons, short of the ICCAT scientists' recommendation to reduce the catch to 8,000 metric tons or less to allow the population to recover. The species will be considered for further protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species at its next Conference of Parties in March. The Seafood Choices is hosting a half-day meeting on tuna issues at this year's Seafood Summit.

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