The Pacific bluefin tuna, fished relentlessly for decades, is in trouble.>
A report issued this week by fisheries scientists on behalf of fishing nations, including the United States and Japan, shows that decades of uncontrolled overfishing have left stocks vulnerable, with conservationists warning that there is a real possibility of their collapse.
The fisheries scientists, working for an organization known as the International Scientific Committee to Study the Tuna and Tuna-Like Species of the North Pacific Ocean, spell out the crisis in unusually stark language.
The current biomass of the Pacific bluefin “is near historically low levels and experiencing high exploitation rates above all biological reference points commonly used by fisheries managers,” they write. “Based on projection results, extending the status quo (2007-2009) fishing levels is unlikely to improve stock status.”
Read the rest of the story: Pacific Tuna Stocks Have Plummeted, Scientists Warn.
A single bluefin tuna has sold in Japan for 155m yen ($1.7m), almost triple the record price set last year.
High bids traditionally mark the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.
Even the buyer, sushi chain owner Kiyoshi Kimura, who also paid out the record price last year, said the cost was “a bit high”.
The sale came amid continued warnings from environmentalists that tuna stocks are dwindling and overfished.
This year’s record-breaking fish was caught off north-eastern Japan and weighed in at 222kg (489lbs), some 47kg lighter than last year’s prize-winner, which fetched 56m yen.
Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.
“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.
Read the rest of the story: Radioactive bluefin tuna crossed the Pacific to US.
A monster tuna caught off Japan turned heads at a Tokyo fish market Friday, where the 445 kilogram (981 pound) bluefin — the biggest caught here since 1986 — sold for 3.2 million yen (36,700 dollars).
"Many of the people who work at the market have never seen a tuna that big," said an official of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which runs the Tsukiji fish market, the world’s biggest seafood market.
The fish, which was auctioned at 7,200 yen per kilogram, had already been gutted and cleaned of its gills, meaning it must have weighed more when it was caught off Nagasaki prefecture this week, the official said.
"It is extremely rare to see a tuna heavier than 400 kilograms," he said.
Read the rest of the story: AFP: Sushi-hungry Japan sells monster tuna.