Save Atlantic Bluefin Tuna from Extinction

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Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

The federal government has changed rules that reduced bycatch of these remarkable fish. Sign the petition and protect the tuna!


Bluefin tuna are incredible fish. They can live up to 40 years, migrate across all oceans, swimming thousands of miles a year between spawning and breeding grounds, and can dive deeper than 3,000 feet. They are also tremendous predators from the moment they hatch, with the sharpest vision of any bony fish, but they are not immune to threats posed by pollution and overfishing1.

Of the three species bluefin tuna, the Atlantic is the largest and most endangered, and close to population collapse. Studies show that the western Atlantic population has declined 82% since 1970. Scientists estimate that there are only 41,000 reproductively mature bluefin tuna left in the western Atlantic2.

Most catches of the Atlantic bluefin tuna are taken from the Mediterranean Sea, which is the most important bluefin tuna fishery in the world. But the boats seeking these tuna are responsible for more hooks and nets in the water than any other fishery1.

Since World War II, overfishing, including illegal fishing, facilitated by high-tech fishing techniques and ballooning fishing capacity, has brought Atlantic Bluefin Tuna precariously close to collapse. The continuing increase in demand for bluefin tuna on the lucrative sushi market has fueled increased catches, while driving this magnificent species toward severe depletion3.

Legislation over the last decade has not been empathetic to the Atlantic bluefin's plight, either.

In 2020 the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Department of Commerce lifted restrictions on areas where Atlantic bluefin tuna were once safe from fishing along the Northeastern Atlantic coast, as well as weakened rules that lessened incidents of bluefin tuna bycatch in the Gulf of Mexico4.

Two non-profits have filed a lawsuit against the NMFS, challenging the removal of the Northeastern US Closed Area at Cape Hatteras and the shortening of the Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area5. Their lawsuit is fighting for two important measures that could protect the Atlantic bluefin tuna which, if action is not taken soon, may disappear completely.

Even some in the fishing industry anticipate the world's entire fishing industry may face catastrophic collapse by 20486.

Sign the petition below and demand the National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA Fisheries' Office of Aquaculture and Department of Commerce restore the Northeastern US Closed Area and the year-round Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area and save the Atlantic bluefin tuna!

More on this issue:

  1. World Wildlife Fund Inc. (2021), "Bluefin Tuna Facts."
  2. Ocean River Institute (2021), "Bluefin Tuna of the Western Atlantic Need Your Help."
  3. Sailors for the Sea (November 2021), "Protecting Bluefin Tuna."
  4. Department of Commerce, Federal Register (2 April 2020), "Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries; Pelagic Longline Fishery Management."
  5. United States District Court for the District of Maryland, (29 April, 2020), "Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief."
  6. Dan Q. Dao, Saveur (14 December 14 2016), "How Can We Save the World?s Few Remaining Bluefin Tuna."
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The Petition:

To the Directors of the NOAA Fisheries' Office of Aquaculture and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Secretary of Commerce

The remarkable Atlantic bluefin tuna once ruled our seas at the top of the food chain, swimming thousands of miles a year throughout every ocean on Earth, and diving to depths of more than 3,000 feet.

These fish inspired the likes of Aristotle, Hawthorne, and Melville. They predate our own country by eons, but if they are not protected soon the Atlantic bluefin tuna may disappear forever.

Key among these protections are the Northeastern US Closed Area at Cape Hatteras, which was removed in 2020, and the Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area, which was reduced to a seasonal rule rather than year-round. Without these restrictions in place, countless more Atlantic bluefin tuna will be taken by careless and greedy fishing practices.

The western Atlantic population has declined 82% since 1970. Scientists estimate that there are only 41,000 reproductively mature bluefin tuna left in the western Atlantic. Even some in the fishing industry anticipate the world's entire fishing industry may face catastrophic collapse by 2048.

If Atlantic bluefin tuna bycatch is not curbed immediately, we will lose this important species to extinction.

The people of the world have spoke, we demand you restore the Northeastern US Closed Area at Cape Hatteras and extend the Gulf of Mexico Gear Restricted Area year-round.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: