The unique idea of eating raw fish has been adopted by the whole world. Bluefin tuna is one of the most popular fish to be served. But underneath the facade of fame, there always lies dark secrets. Farley Mowat’s Never Cry emphasizes human’s ignorance, which decimated the wolf population, to display the universal truth that if a species was extinct, an unwanted chain reaction may occur that may negatively affect life on the planet. An average bluefin tuna is measured at seventy-eight inches long and weighed at eight hundred thirty pounds, with a life expectancy of fifteen years.
They are considered to be one of the more larger tunas. What also sets them apart from most tunas is that “the head is long and somewhat pointed, and the eye is small.” (Gardieff). Blue can be found on the upper body, whereas white is found on the lower body and stomach. The bluefin tuna preys on small fish, such as mackerel and sardines.
The fish is also labeled a filtered feeder, consuming things that can potentially harm the marine ecosystem if not regulated.Humans are the reason why bluefin tuna populations are decreasing. Due to its increase in popularity for the fish industry, the bluefin tuna “has become the most desirable food fish in the world… it is porbably the most endangered of all large fish species.”
Bluefin tuna used to be regarded as the equivalent of trash because the Japanese people were not able to preserve it, due to its high amount of fat.
But in the 1970s, Japan was introduced to beef from the Westerns, ultimately being replaced by the buttery bluefin tuna because there was not enough land for ranches and importing meat was too expensive. It is now an ethical debate whether restaurants should continue serving bluefin tuna. Because of the decrease in numbers, yet increase in popularity, the fish species is constantly being taken out from the sea.
“Currently, the Atlantic bluefin tuna is on the brink of extinction because of overfishing and illegal fishing to feed a rapidly expanding market” (Gurung). Overfishing is also because the “bluefin tuna is also a popular game fish, especially in the USA, where it is caught by hook and line.” (Gardieff). A favored way of hunting the fish is long-lining, a long line with baits on hooks that inevitably capture other endangered animals. Rather than using all parts of the fish, people kill bluefin tuna for fun. Excessive fishing and illegal activity from humans have led the bluefin tuna species to become endangered.The bluefin tuna plays an important role in the marine ecosystem. Bluefin tuna not only eat smaller fish and crustaceans, but also kelp. Without enough bluefin tuna, the kelp production in the ocean would grow out of control. Coral and other sea plants would not be able to use the sunlight, killing more species.
The bluefin tuna also has a predator list that consists of numerous whales and sharks. Its predators would have to resort to hunting smaller fish. The other species would die out because of its increase in hunters, especially when its bigger predators have a larger appetite. Lesser fish means lesser excrete, which produces ammonia. There would not be enough ammonia to satisfy the reef’s need for nutrients, thus, killing all marine life.
The bluefin tuna also impacts the world in a financial aspect. The economy of the marguro industry, or food industry, relies on bluefin tuna because it is expensive and “the sushi and sashimi industry now accounts for 80 percent of the world’s bluefin catch” (A World without Tuna?). An average bluefin costs around $45,000. The most expensive bluefin tuna that has ever been sold costed around $1.76 million and about four hundred eighty-nine pounds. Many fishermen worry that their source of income will deteriorate along with the bluefin tuna. “Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have declined by over 85 percent compared to maximum historical stock levels” (Gurung). Millions will lose their jobs if commercial fishing kills out the bluefin. There are efficient ways to regulate fishing of the bluefin tuna that many countries have advocated. First, the bluefin tuna should not be hunted during its spawning season.
“United Nations warned that excessive fishing will continue to deteriorate marine ecosystems and will lead to the disapperance of fish populations.” (Godoy). It is inevitable that the species will be fished for, but stopping all fishing activity during spawning season will allow the bluefin tuna’s population to grow. This is because “when the bluefins are initially captured in nets in the open ocean, many younger specimens get swept up.” (A World without Tuna?) Giving time for the bluefin tuna to reproduce means an increase in population. Second, tuna ranches must make improvements in the way they function. It is known that the bluefin tuna population is depleting, so commercial corporations capture and isolate them from the ocean.
They are fed large amounts of sardines and mackerels before they are shipped to be sold or slaughtered to be eaten. Ranches still fail to conserve bluefin because “they’re [bluefin less than three years old] scooped up before they’ve had a chance to reproduce or add to the population” (Danovich). Ranches should minimize the amount of bluefin they are capturing and allow the species to mature and reproduce before intercepting them.
In a way, it is a display of natural selection because the weak and old tuna will be eaten, whereas the youthful will thrive in the oceanic waters.Lastly, countries must unite together in order to save the bluefin. Commerical trade actions may have to stop because “governments will consider putting Atlantic bluefin tuna on Appendix I of the Convention… which would ban all international commercial trade” (Gurung). But because of the possible economical devastations, many countries are reluctant to follow suit. Plans to preserve the bluefin are shot down because it does not benefit a country financially. For example, Monaco stated they wanted to ban bluefin tuna sales all over the world at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
The “EU apparently supported Monaco’s proposal to ban all fishing of this species, at the same it asked for more studies to document the risk of extinction” (Godoy). Monaco’s proposed law never went through because European countries feared they would lose too much money, even though they saw the abundant evidence of decreasing bluefin populations.
The capital greed of humans have blinded the real problem, the possible extinction of the bluefin tuna. Nations must look at the bigger picture and agree to the terms of a bluefin-tuna fishing ban.A moment on the lips is not worth sacrificing and entire species. The disappearance of bluefin tuna will send the world to chaos. The evidence shows that the decline of the bluefin tuna parallels to the wolf population in Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf because they are both keystone species who face the dangers of extinction.