The Former Chief Scientist at ICCAT talks about whether or not bluefin tuna can currently be sustainably fished.

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  • Bluefin tuna are prized as sushi meat and by sport fishers for their strength and speed. Their popularity, however, has led to overfishing of the species. The Atlantic bluefin tuna ranges throughout much of the North Atlantic Ocean. They spawn in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. These huge fish reach up to 2 meters (6.56 feet) in length and reach speeds of 88.5 kilometers per hour (55 miles per hour).

    1. What are some characteristics of bluefin tuna?

      Possible responses: Bluefin tuna are large fish, reaching over 200 kilograms (441 pounds). They can live in both warm and cold waters and dive to deep depths. These fish are amazing predators—they are incredibly fast with streamlined bodies. They migrate thousands of miles.

    2. What makes bluefin tuna different from other tuna species?

      This species can withstand very cold water temperatures, allowing them to go into far northern or southern waters.

    3. Why has overfishing of bluefin tuna taken place?

      Possible responses: Bluefin tuna are highly prized for their meat. This species bring a high price at market, which leads to more fishing. The species has not been properly managed everywhere it is found.

    4. Why is it difficult to manage this species of fish?

      Possible responses: Bluefin tuna have limited spawning grounds. The species travels across the ocean, which means that countries must agree to work together to manage fishing. It is often difficult for countries to agree on conservation issues.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    conservation Noun

    management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

    Encyclopedic Entry: conservation
    fisheries scientist Noun

    person who studies or manages the industry of catching, harvesting, and selling fish.

    fishery Noun

    industry or occupation of harvesting fish, either in the wild or through aquaculture.

    fishing capacity Noun

    relationship between a fishery and the way fish are managed there, including the number of fish harvested, methods used, and sustainability for future generations of fishermen and consumers.

    fishing ground Noun

    large area of the ocean where fish can usually be caught.

    fish stock Noun

    amount of fish available to be harvested in a specific area at a specific time.

    spawn Verb

    to give birth to.

    spawning grounds Noun

    area where fish come each year to reproduce.