Bournemouth fisherman lands 1,000lb tuna

Bournemouth Echo: CATCH OF THE DAY: Neil Cooke and Mark Towers with the monster fish CATCH OF THE DAY: Neil Cooke and Mark Towers with the monster fish

A TRIP to Nova Scotia yielded four whopping blue fin tuna for Bournemouth man Neil Cooke and friend Mark Towers – including a monster that weighed in at 1,000lbs.

37-year-old Mr Cooke, who owns the Bournemouth Fishing Lodge, and Mr Towers, 30, who works as a fish farmer in Ghana, made the trip to the Canadian Maritime province last month.

Mr Towers landed the largest blue fin of the trip after a two-hour battle to bring it alongside the boat.

He used mackerel as bait.

The tuna is worth a massive £20,000.

Mr Cooke said: “Tuna are brutes, in a league of their own.

“When we got it to the surface, it was unbelievable.”

Comments (74)

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10:17am Sat 24 Nov 12

Lord Spring says...

A quick glance at the headlines and I thought the Surf Reef was paying dividens.
A quick glance at the headlines and I thought the Surf Reef was paying dividens. Lord Spring
  • Score: 0

10:23am Sat 24 Nov 12

beachcomber1 says...

how can people take delight in killing other living creatures for "sport"? particularly a magnificent creature such as this?
how can people take delight in killing other living creatures for "sport"? particularly a magnificent creature such as this? beachcomber1
  • Score: 0

10:45am Sat 24 Nov 12

Mermaid99 says...

Well done Echo celebrating another step towards the extinction of a critically endangered species. Would you print this if it was a cute dolphin or a fluffy snow leopard? There's no difference
Very irresponsible
http://www.fishonlin
e.org/fish/northern-
bluefin-tuna-251
Well done Echo celebrating another step towards the extinction of a critically endangered species. Would you print this if it was a cute dolphin or a fluffy snow leopard? There's no difference Very irresponsible http://www.fishonlin e.org/fish/northern- bluefin-tuna-251 Mermaid99
  • Score: 0

10:57am Sat 24 Nov 12

High Treason says...

There are some sadistic people about who get pleasure from killing creatures for fun. Shame on the Echo for glamorising it.
There are some sadistic people about who get pleasure from killing creatures for fun. Shame on the Echo for glamorising it. High Treason
  • Score: 0

11:12am Sat 24 Nov 12

tricky1007 says...

Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!!
Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!! tricky1007
  • Score: 0

11:25am Sat 24 Nov 12

peter flea bite says...

Anybody can see its a plastic inflatable
they sell em on Ebay and the sea front at Blackpool
Anybody can see its a plastic inflatable they sell em on Ebay and the sea front at Blackpool peter flea bite
  • Score: 0

11:46am Sat 24 Nov 12

polblagger says...

tricky1007 wrote:
Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!!
I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter.

I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed.

This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting.

This is not the middle ages people.
[quote][p][bold]tricky1007[/bold] wrote: Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!![/p][/quote]I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter. I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed. This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting. This is not the middle ages people. polblagger
  • Score: 0

11:52am Sat 24 Nov 12

mansak_hunt says...

polblagger wrote:
tricky1007 wrote:
Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!!
I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter.

I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed.

This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting.

This is not the middle ages people.
So how else are you going to catch it?
Harpoon?
Trawl net?
If it is not exhausted, how else will they get it on the boat?
[quote][p][bold]polblagger[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tricky1007[/bold] wrote: Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!![/p][/quote]I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter. I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed. This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting. This is not the middle ages people.[/p][/quote]So how else are you going to catch it? Harpoon? Trawl net? If it is not exhausted, how else will they get it on the boat? mansak_hunt
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Sat 24 Nov 12

seahorse steve says...

Bluefin Tuna is an endangered species, it is beyond belief that an ignorant journalist would cover such a story, and that these redneck cretins take such pleasure in wiping out something that is already on the brink because of over fishing , this sort of stuff belongs in the past, trophy shots should NOT be printed in this newspaper, conservation organisations all over the World are fighting to save this species , so the Echo in their ignorance and desire for sensation do this , I hope they receive many complaints , what's next , a picture of a Japanese Whaler standing next to a Humpback ?
Bluefin Tuna is an endangered species, it is beyond belief that an ignorant journalist would cover such a story, and that these redneck cretins take such pleasure in wiping out something that is already on the brink because of over fishing , this sort of stuff belongs in the past, trophy shots should NOT be printed in this newspaper, conservation organisations all over the World are fighting to save this species , so the Echo in their ignorance and desire for sensation do this , I hope they receive many complaints , what's next , a picture of a Japanese Whaler standing next to a Humpback ? seahorse steve
  • Score: 0

12:36pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Justin666 says...

Compare the beauty of this fish with the two smug self satisfied individuals sitting on either side of it. A travesty of nature.
Compare the beauty of this fish with the two smug self satisfied individuals sitting on either side of it. A travesty of nature. Justin666
  • Score: 0

12:43pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Mr N James says...

great catch lads, well done ,i will vist BFl for my carp bait ect very soon.
great catch lads, well done ,i will vist BFl for my carp bait ect very soon. Mr N James
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Forest_Nymph says...

I am horrified that in this day and age people want to kill animals for "fun" or "sport" ....... this CRITICALLY ENDANGERED creature will more than likely finish up on the plates of those rich people who can afford to buy "luxury" food - not because they need it to survive - but simply because they CAN.

Shame on the Echo for glamorising the needless killing of ENDANGERED animals.

Fishing to eat is one thing - but fishing to wipe out a whole species for "FUN" is quite another. The eating of this fish is un-necessary to survival of the human species. It is deemed a "luxury" and no doubt some fat, greed, over weight, selfish millionaire will tuck into parts of it tonight, if indeed they haven't already .........

I am disgusted with the people who do such things - and with the Echo for reporting on it in such a light hearted way. Shame on all concerned!!
I am horrified that in this day and age people want to kill animals for "fun" or "sport" ....... this CRITICALLY ENDANGERED creature will more than likely finish up on the plates of those rich people who can afford to buy "luxury" food - not because they need it to survive - but simply because they CAN. Shame on the Echo for glamorising the needless killing of ENDANGERED animals. Fishing to eat is one thing - but fishing to wipe out a whole species for "FUN" is quite another. The eating of this fish is un-necessary to survival of the human species. It is deemed a "luxury" and no doubt some fat, greed, over weight, selfish millionaire will tuck into parts of it tonight, if indeed they haven't already ......... I am disgusted with the people who do such things - and with the Echo for reporting on it in such a light hearted way. Shame on all concerned!! Forest_Nymph
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Sat 24 Nov 12

seahorse steve says...

Agree with the above comment, anglers should boycott this shop in protest at trophy fishing, it belongs in the history books, and responsible anglers go to great trouble to avoid this old school hunter gatherer approach to the sport ,I wonder what the Carp anglers would say if someone took the bloated fish from their man made lakes and posed next to the bodies ?
Agree with the above comment, anglers should boycott this shop in protest at trophy fishing, it belongs in the history books, and responsible anglers go to great trouble to avoid this old school hunter gatherer approach to the sport ,I wonder what the Carp anglers would say if someone took the bloated fish from their man made lakes and posed next to the bodies ? seahorse steve
  • Score: 0

2:27pm Sat 24 Nov 12

John T says...

FFS Stop Carping Now!
FFS Stop Carping Now! John T
  • Score: 0

2:54pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Mr N James says...

Whats wrong with Carping.
Whats wrong with Carping. Mr N James
  • Score: 0

3:28pm Sat 24 Nov 12

l'anglais says...

7 billion mouths to feed and so little time to do it in.
Survival of the thickest, I believe Mister Darwin.
7 billion mouths to feed and so little time to do it in. Survival of the thickest, I believe Mister Darwin. l'anglais
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Sat 24 Nov 12

seahorse steve says...

Nice to see there is still a redneck element to the angling community , who still think they are hunter gatherers , if it is survival of the thickest this lot should be fine , same sort of idiots that want to wipe out Otters and Cormorants because they eat the fish in their pretend artificial ponds , hope it goes down the same route as Fox Hunting one day .
Nice to see there is still a redneck element to the angling community , who still think they are hunter gatherers , if it is survival of the thickest this lot should be fine , same sort of idiots that want to wipe out Otters and Cormorants because they eat the fish in their pretend artificial ponds , hope it goes down the same route as Fox Hunting one day . seahorse steve
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Sat 24 Nov 12

jeebuscripes says...

Do animals have feelings? I fear not. As they are unable to speak we may never know.

When I kick dogs they make a noise, how do we know this is an expression of pain? They might actually like it.

In this case however, it is obvious that the fish is in pain, look at its face. These people are sick.
Do animals have feelings? I fear not. As they are unable to speak we may never know. When I kick dogs they make a noise, how do we know this is an expression of pain? They might actually like it. In this case however, it is obvious that the fish is in pain, look at its face. These people are sick. jeebuscripes
  • Score: 0

5:15pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Worldwide Angler says...

seahorse steve wrote:
Nice to see there is still a redneck element to the angling community , who still think they are hunter gatherers , if it is survival of the thickest this lot should be fine , same sort of idiots that want to wipe out Otters and Cormorants because they eat the fish in their pretend artificial ponds , hope it goes down the same route as Fox Hunting one day .
The badly thought out re-introduction of otters has destroyed the wildlife , not just fish , in some of our rivers.
The only organisation in the UK that takes polluters to court is an angling organisation , our waterways would be in a lot worse state now if it wasn't for anglers.
I fished for Mahseer in India. The rivers containing the Mahseer were protected from poaching by the money visiting anglers paid , the fishing guides patrolled these stretches.
Now in India they banned fishing on these stretches as they classed it as hunting . The result ? The unprotected Mahseer poached out of existence.
But would would a redneck like me care ?
[quote][p][bold]seahorse steve[/bold] wrote: Nice to see there is still a redneck element to the angling community , who still think they are hunter gatherers , if it is survival of the thickest this lot should be fine , same sort of idiots that want to wipe out Otters and Cormorants because they eat the fish in their pretend artificial ponds , hope it goes down the same route as Fox Hunting one day .[/p][/quote]The badly thought out re-introduction of otters has destroyed the wildlife , not just fish , in some of our rivers. The only organisation in the UK that takes polluters to court is an angling organisation , our waterways would be in a lot worse state now if it wasn't for anglers. I fished for Mahseer in India. The rivers containing the Mahseer were protected from poaching by the money visiting anglers paid , the fishing guides patrolled these stretches. Now in India they banned fishing on these stretches as they classed it as hunting . The result ? The unprotected Mahseer poached out of existence. But would would a redneck like me care ? Worldwide Angler
  • Score: 0

6:46pm Sat 24 Nov 12

Adrian XX says...

There is some extreme silliness in these comments: The fish will be eaten - no one catches a fish that size and just lets it rot. Anything fished commercially is allowed to die in the air, so if you eat any fish at all, that's how it died. There's no reason to ban angling unless you ban all types of fishing.

It does concern me slightly that this species is endangered (not critically endangered as one person said). However, there is no ban on fishing this species currently.
There is some extreme silliness in these comments: The fish will be eaten - no one catches a fish that size and just lets it rot. Anything fished commercially is allowed to die in the air, so if you eat any fish at all, that's how it died. There's no reason to ban angling unless you ban all types of fishing. It does concern me slightly that this species is endangered (not critically endangered as one person said). However, there is no ban on fishing this species currently. Adrian XX
  • Score: 0

6:52pm Sat 24 Nov 12

fishybc says...

Bluefin Tuna stocks are way to low to support harvesting of any fish.As a fishmonger (who happens to live in Canada), I do not support this activity or commercial fishing of this species, and am dissappointed that the Canadian government allows it too.
Good to see the awareness is there back home of the plight of this very important species.
Bluefin Tuna stocks are way to low to support harvesting of any fish.As a fishmonger (who happens to live in Canada), I do not support this activity or commercial fishing of this species, and am dissappointed that the Canadian government allows it too. Good to see the awareness is there back home of the plight of this very important species. fishybc
  • Score: 0

7:05pm Sat 24 Nov 12

X Old Bill says...

There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify.

The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet.

Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen.
Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.
There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify. The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet. Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen. Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination. X Old Bill
  • Score: 0

7:13pm Sat 24 Nov 12

tonymcc says...

X Old Bill wrote:
There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify.

The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet.

Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen.
Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.
well some of what you say actually carries some weight B U T. 1 fish doesnt make a dent in the population of bluefin tuna. box netting and killing the whole school does. and then closer to home the slaughter that goes on in the north sea daily because of quota rules thousands of low value fish thrown back into the sea DEAD. I dont hear you standing up and protesting about that....
[quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify. The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet. Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen. Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.[/p][/quote]well some of what you say actually carries some weight B U T. 1 fish doesnt make a dent in the population of bluefin tuna. box netting and killing the whole school does. and then closer to home the slaughter that goes on in the north sea daily because of quota rules thousands of low value fish thrown back into the sea DEAD. I dont hear you standing up and protesting about that.... tonymcc
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Sat 24 Nov 12

tonymcc says...

peter flea bite wrote:
Anybody can see its a plastic inflatable
they sell em on Ebay and the sea front at Blackpool
you can shut up too.
[quote][p][bold]peter flea bite[/bold] wrote: Anybody can see its a plastic inflatable they sell em on Ebay and the sea front at Blackpool[/p][/quote]you can shut up too. tonymcc
  • Score: 0

7:18pm Sat 24 Nov 12

tonymcc says...

polblagger wrote:
tricky1007 wrote:
Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!!
I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter.

I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed.

This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting.

This is not the middle ages people.
imagine being dragged along the sea bed for 5 hours till you drown then being hauled up to the surface and then slung back because you are a low value fish or European law kicks in and skippers have no choice but to throw away tonnes of fish.. Protest about that !
[quote][p][bold]polblagger[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tricky1007[/bold] wrote: Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!![/p][/quote]I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter. I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed. This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting. This is not the middle ages people.[/p][/quote]imagine being dragged along the sea bed for 5 hours till you drown then being hauled up to the surface and then slung back because you are a low value fish or European law kicks in and skippers have no choice but to throw away tonnes of fish.. Protest about that ! tonymcc
  • Score: 0

7:23pm Sat 24 Nov 12

tonymcc says...

seahorse steve wrote:
Agree with the above comment, anglers should boycott this shop in protest at trophy fishing, it belongs in the history books, and responsible anglers go to great trouble to avoid this old school hunter gatherer approach to the sport ,I wonder what the Carp anglers would say if someone took the bloated fish from their man made lakes and posed next to the bodies ?
BE QUIET . think about the waste that goes on in the north sea before you blabber about 1 fish. the sharks that are killed for their fins or the cod thrown back because the skipper has been too good at his job. dont see anyone outside the local chippy complaining ...
[quote][p][bold]seahorse steve[/bold] wrote: Agree with the above comment, anglers should boycott this shop in protest at trophy fishing, it belongs in the history books, and responsible anglers go to great trouble to avoid this old school hunter gatherer approach to the sport ,I wonder what the Carp anglers would say if someone took the bloated fish from their man made lakes and posed next to the bodies ?[/p][/quote]BE QUIET . think about the waste that goes on in the north sea before you blabber about 1 fish. the sharks that are killed for their fins or the cod thrown back because the skipper has been too good at his job. dont see anyone outside the local chippy complaining ... tonymcc
  • Score: 0

7:35pm Sat 24 Nov 12

tonymcc says...

X Old Bill wrote:
There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify.

The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet.

Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen.
Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.
rubbish . there are loads of tuna in the sea. skipjack being the ones in the tin. blue fin are fished for their meat for the japanese market off the east coast of america and then austrailians gather them and grow then on in pens. until they're big enogh to slaughter. yet again mouth open no idea.
[quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify. The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet. Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen. Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.[/p][/quote]rubbish . there are loads of tuna in the sea. skipjack being the ones in the tin. blue fin are fished for their meat for the japanese market off the east coast of america and then austrailians gather them and grow then on in pens.[ how nice ] until they're big enogh to slaughter. yet again mouth open no idea. tonymcc
  • Score: 0

7:39pm Sat 24 Nov 12

X Old Bill says...

tonymcc wrote:
X Old Bill wrote:
There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify.

The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet.

Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen.
Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.
well some of what you say actually carries some weight B U T. 1 fish doesnt make a dent in the population of bluefin tuna. box netting and killing the whole school does. and then closer to home the slaughter that goes on in the north sea daily because of quota rules thousands of low value fish thrown back into the sea DEAD. I dont hear you standing up and protesting about that....
I am not protesting about 'that' because my post was concerned with placing a little perspective on the actual story.

As it happens I do not agree with throwing back any catch in excess to quota and if the Echo ran a story on it then I might comment if I felt that my knowledge would be of some help - But they haven't so I wont.
[quote][p][bold]tonymcc[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify. The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet. Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen. Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.[/p][/quote]well some of what you say actually carries some weight B U T. 1 fish doesnt make a dent in the population of bluefin tuna. box netting and killing the whole school does. and then closer to home the slaughter that goes on in the north sea daily because of quota rules thousands of low value fish thrown back into the sea DEAD. I dont hear you standing up and protesting about that....[/p][/quote]I am not protesting about 'that' because my post was concerned with placing a little perspective on the actual story. As it happens I do not agree with throwing back any catch in excess to quota and if the Echo ran a story on it then I might comment if I felt that my knowledge would be of some help - But they haven't so I wont. X Old Bill
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Sat 24 Nov 12

scientifically justified quota.. says...

Bournemouth Fishing Lodge I agree, a critically endangered species perhaps should not be taken at all - a complete commercial ban. BUT, those decisions are not made by us, and given the value of the fishery, it will always be a hotly debated topic, and one ultimately determined by governments....right
ly or wrongly...

However, if there is a quota which has been set, the fisherman who catched that tuna as part of the quota should not be vilified. The tuna or the quota will be taken - either by sportfishermen who also support the local economy, or commercial fisherman...either way, it will happen, so all this bleating about the fact that it is like killing a polar bear - well, those people should use their energy to sign a petition versus governments and fisheries bodies!
Bournemouth Fishing Lodge I agree, a critically endangered species perhaps should not be taken at all - a complete commercial ban. BUT, those decisions are not made by us, and given the value of the fishery, it will always be a hotly debated topic, and one ultimately determined by governments....right ly or wrongly... However, if there is a quota which has been set, the fisherman who catched that tuna as part of the quota should not be vilified. The tuna or the quota will be taken - either by sportfishermen who also support the local economy, or commercial fisherman...either way, it will happen, so all this bleating about the fact that it is like killing a polar bear - well, those people should use their energy to sign a petition versus governments and fisheries bodies! scientifically justified quota..
  • Score: 0

7:58pm Sat 24 Nov 12

RED LETTER DAY says...

.. COR what a load of moaners on here, ........... Best get yerselves a fishing rod.
.. COR what a load of moaners on here, ........... Best get yerselves a fishing rod. RED LETTER DAY
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Sat 24 Nov 12

X Old Bill says...

tonymcc wrote:
X Old Bill wrote:
There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify.

The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet.

Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen.
Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.
rubbish . there are loads of tuna in the sea. skipjack being the ones in the tin. blue fin are fished for their meat for the japanese market off the east coast of america and then austrailians gather them and grow then on in pens. until they're big enogh to slaughter. yet again mouth open no idea.
I take it that you had to look that one up as you failed to mention it in your initial reply - Skipjack tuna is a sub species and the can label must show if it skipjack rather than true tuna.
I apologise for not mentioning Albacore which is another of the Main tuna species, also canned and not listed as endangered.
I agree with you that the Japanese will eat anything from the sea, endangered or not - just fortunate (for them but not the tuna) that the most abundant blue fin are found in the North Pacific near Japan so the one pictured above may be one of them...
[quote][p][bold]tonymcc[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: There are two main types of tuna in the world's oceans - Blue fin and Yellow fin and they are quite easy to identify. The Yellow fin tuna are relatively abundant and are fished both commercially and by some indigenous people for whom it is a major part of their diet. Blue fin tuna are on the list of endangered species, they are not deliberately fished commercially and are apparently only sought by 'sport' fishermen. Rather perversely their increasing rarity also increases their market value which tends to produce a cycle of self elimination.[/p][/quote]rubbish . there are loads of tuna in the sea. skipjack being the ones in the tin. blue fin are fished for their meat for the japanese market off the east coast of america and then austrailians gather them and grow then on in pens.[ how nice ] until they're big enogh to slaughter. yet again mouth open no idea.[/p][/quote]I take it that you had to look that one up as you failed to mention it in your initial reply - Skipjack tuna is a sub species and the can label must show if it skipjack rather than true tuna. I apologise for not mentioning Albacore which is another of the Main tuna species, also canned and not listed as endangered. I agree with you that the Japanese will eat anything from the sea, endangered or not - just fortunate (for them but not the tuna) that the most abundant blue fin are found in the North Pacific near Japan so the one pictured above may be one of them... X Old Bill
  • Score: 0

8:12pm Sat 24 Nov 12

scientifically justified quota.. says...

The American Bluefin Tuna Association

The American Bluefin Tuna Association (ABTA) was formed to protect the Atlantic bluefin tuna fishermen's traditional access and quota share. ABTA aims to protect the domestic structure under the National Marine Fisheries Service (part of NOAA) Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (HMS FMP) and focuses on seeking or supporting changes to allow rod and reel, harpooners, charter boats, private recreational fishermen, and others to catch their quota.




Blue Ocean Institute

Blue Ocean Institute is a conservation organization that uses science, art, and literature to inspire a closer bond with nature, especially the sea. They translate scientific information into language people can understand and use to make better choices on behalf of the sea.




Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity believes that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature—to the existence of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. During the Gulf oil disaster in 2010, the Center filed a scientific petition to list Atlantic bluefin tuna as endangered. In November 2010 the Center launched a Bluefin Boycott campaign to mobilize people across the globe in a pledge not to eat or serve bluefin tuna sushi.




Commercial Fishermen of America

The mission of the Commercial Fishermen of America is to promote the heritage, values, and services of America's commercial fishermen, to provide a forum to foster professional collaboration among fishermen, and to educate Americans about the profession of commercial fishing, fishermen, and America's seafood..




International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species provides taxonomic conservation status and distribution information on plants and animals that have been globally evaluated using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Atlantic bluefin is listed as endangered.




The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)

ICCAT is an intergovernmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas. They compile fishery statistics, coordinate research, develop science-based management advice, provide a mechanism for contracting parties to agree on management measures, and produce relevant publications. ICCAT sets the total allowable catches (TACs) for Atlantic bluefin at 12,900 tons annually, effective beginning in 2011 and thereafter, until such time the TAC is changed following the advice of the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics.




Large Pelagics Research Center (LPRC)

Working closely with fishermen and using state-of-the-art technologies, LPRC conducts biological and ecological research on pelagic species including tunas, sharks, billfish, and sea turtles. They endeavor to develop scientific understanding that supports effective ecosystem-based management strategies for these highly migratory Atlantic marine species.




National Coalition for Marine Conservation

The National Coalition for Marine Conservation (NCMC) is the oldest public advocacy group in the United States dedicated exclusively to conserving ocean fish, such as swordfish, marlin, sharks, tuna, striped bass, menhaden, and herring. NCMC supports the U.S. seeking tougher conservation measures through ICCAT. They believe that closing the Gulf of Mexico to long-lining, where and when the bluefin spawn, would do more than anything else to protect what's left of the western bluefin spawning stock and to preserve a U.S. fishery for the future.




National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Ocean Initiative is focused on restoring the health and productivity of the ocean through a variety of innovative approaches and partnerships that will: magnify the application of marine reserves, the most powerful tool for ocean restoration; replace the "race to the bottom" system of fishing with one that generates long-term economic, social, and environmental benefits; and raise awareness worldwide to the benefits of creating marine protected areas and restoring fisheries. Additionally, the Atlantic bluefin tuna profile page lists the bluefin's protection status as endangered and explains that "overfishing throughout range has driven their numbers to critically low levels."




National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA)

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's living marine resources and their habitat while striving to balance competing public needs. Their Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division manages species like tunas, sharks, swordfish, and billfish, which require international cooperation and rebuilding programs that reflect traditional participation in the fisheries by U.S. fishermen, relative to foreign fleets. In addition, NOAA’s FishWatch is designed to help you make informed decisions about the seafood you eat. It can also help you understand the management and science requirements involved with building and maintaining sustainable fisheries. Atlantic bluefin tuna population levels are low and international overfishing is occurring. The agreed catch limits for both western and eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks are within the range of scientific advice and are projected to support continued growth for both stocks if ICCAT parties remain in compliance with the agreed limits.




The Pew Charitable Trusts

The aim of the Pew Environment Group is to strengthen environmental policies and practices in ways that produce significant and measurable protection for terrestrial and marine systems worldwide. Pew is working to improve the international management of tuna species by promoting science-based catch limits that do not allow overfishing; minimizing the impacts of destructive fishing gears; eliminating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and increasing the transparency and accountability of tuna regional fisheries management organizations.




Tag-A-Giant Foundation

Tag-A-Giant is committed to reversing the decline of northern bluefin tuna populations by supporting the scientific research necessary to develop innovative and effective policy and conservation initiatives. Their goals include bringing researchers together to develop innovative, science-based management techniques that will protect existing bluefin and restore population abundance, preserving and enhancing the opportunities of fishers who depend on bluefin tuna for sport or for their livelihoods, and contributing to the science and policy of sustainable bluefin tuna farms, including efforts to enable bluefin spawning in captivity.
The American Bluefin Tuna Association The American Bluefin Tuna Association (ABTA) was formed to protect the Atlantic bluefin tuna fishermen's traditional access and quota share. ABTA aims to protect the domestic structure under the National Marine Fisheries Service (part of NOAA) Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (HMS FMP) and focuses on seeking or supporting changes to allow rod and reel, harpooners, charter boats, private recreational fishermen, and others to catch their quota. Blue Ocean Institute Blue Ocean Institute is a conservation organization that uses science, art, and literature to inspire a closer bond with nature, especially the sea. They translate scientific information into language people can understand and use to make better choices on behalf of the sea. Center for Biological Diversity The Center for Biological Diversity believes that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature—to the existence of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. During the Gulf oil disaster in 2010, the Center filed a scientific petition to list Atlantic bluefin tuna as endangered. In November 2010 the Center launched a Bluefin Boycott campaign to mobilize people across the globe in a pledge not to eat or serve bluefin tuna sushi. Commercial Fishermen of America The mission of the Commercial Fishermen of America is to promote the heritage, values, and services of America's commercial fishermen, to provide a forum to foster professional collaboration among fishermen, and to educate Americans about the profession of commercial fishing, fishermen, and America's seafood.. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species provides taxonomic conservation status and distribution information on plants and animals that have been globally evaluated using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Atlantic bluefin is listed as endangered. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) ICCAT is an intergovernmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas. They compile fishery statistics, coordinate research, develop science-based management advice, provide a mechanism for contracting parties to agree on management measures, and produce relevant publications. ICCAT sets the total allowable catches (TACs) for Atlantic bluefin at 12,900 tons annually, effective beginning in 2011 and thereafter, until such time the TAC is changed following the advice of the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics. Large Pelagics Research Center (LPRC) Working closely with fishermen and using state-of-the-art technologies, LPRC conducts biological and ecological research on pelagic species including tunas, sharks, billfish, and sea turtles. They endeavor to develop scientific understanding that supports effective ecosystem-based management strategies for these highly migratory Atlantic marine species. National Coalition for Marine Conservation The National Coalition for Marine Conservation (NCMC) is the oldest public advocacy group in the United States dedicated exclusively to conserving ocean fish, such as swordfish, marlin, sharks, tuna, striped bass, menhaden, and herring. NCMC supports the U.S. seeking tougher conservation measures through ICCAT. They believe that closing the Gulf of Mexico to long-lining, where and when the bluefin spawn, would do more than anything else to protect what's left of the western bluefin spawning stock and to preserve a U.S. fishery for the future. National Geographic Society The National Geographic Ocean Initiative is focused on restoring the health and productivity of the ocean through a variety of innovative approaches and partnerships that will: magnify the application of marine reserves, the most powerful tool for ocean restoration; replace the "race to the bottom" system of fishing with one that generates long-term economic, social, and environmental benefits; and raise awareness worldwide to the benefits of creating marine protected areas and restoring fisheries. Additionally, the Atlantic bluefin tuna profile page lists the bluefin's protection status as endangered and explains that "overfishing throughout [the bluefin] range has driven their numbers to critically low levels." National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's living marine resources and their habitat while striving to balance competing public needs. Their Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division manages species like tunas, sharks, swordfish, and billfish, which require international cooperation and rebuilding programs that reflect traditional participation in the fisheries by U.S. fishermen, relative to foreign fleets. In addition, NOAA’s FishWatch is designed to help you make informed decisions about the seafood you eat. It can also help you understand the management and science requirements involved with building and maintaining sustainable fisheries. Atlantic bluefin tuna population levels are low and international overfishing is occurring. The agreed catch limits for both western and eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks are within the range of scientific advice and are projected to support continued growth for both stocks if ICCAT parties remain in compliance with the agreed limits. The Pew Charitable Trusts The aim of the Pew Environment Group is to strengthen environmental policies and practices in ways that produce significant and measurable protection for terrestrial and marine systems worldwide. Pew is working to improve the international management of tuna species by promoting science-based catch limits that do not allow overfishing; minimizing the impacts of destructive fishing gears; eliminating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and increasing the transparency and accountability of tuna regional fisheries management organizations. Tag-A-Giant Foundation Tag-A-Giant is committed to reversing the decline of northern bluefin tuna populations by supporting the scientific research necessary to develop innovative and effective policy and conservation initiatives. Their goals include bringing researchers together to develop innovative, science-based management techniques that will protect existing bluefin and restore population abundance, preserving and enhancing the opportunities of fishers who depend on bluefin tuna for sport or for their livelihoods, and contributing to the science and policy of sustainable bluefin tuna farms, including efforts to enable bluefin spawning in captivity. scientifically justified quota..
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Sat 24 Nov 12

hammer83 says...

seahorse steve wrote:
Bluefin Tuna is an endangered species, it is beyond belief that an ignorant journalist would cover such a story, and that these redneck cretins take such pleasure in wiping out something that is already on the brink because of over fishing , this sort of stuff belongs in the past, trophy shots should NOT be printed in this newspaper, conservation organisations all over the World are fighting to save this species , so the Echo in their ignorance and desire for sensation do this , I hope they receive many complaints , what's next , a picture of a Japanese Whaler standing next to a Humpback ?
Do your homework muppet.........
Unlike the other bluefins (Atlantic and southern), the Pacific bluefin tuna is not listed as threatened by the IUCN. Overfishing is occurring in the Pacific bluefin, but overall the stock is not in an overfished condition. In 2000–2004, between 16,000 tonnes and 29,000 tonnes were caught per year. Its wide range and migratory behavior leads to some problems, since fisheries in the species are managed by several different Regional Fisheries Management Organisations that sometimes give conflicting advice. The IUCN have recommended that the responsibility is moved to a single organisation. In 2010, it was estimated that the complete spawning biomass was 40–60% of the historically observed spawning biomass.
[quote][p][bold]seahorse steve[/bold] wrote: Bluefin Tuna is an endangered species, it is beyond belief that an ignorant journalist would cover such a story, and that these redneck cretins take such pleasure in wiping out something that is already on the brink because of over fishing , this sort of stuff belongs in the past, trophy shots should NOT be printed in this newspaper, conservation organisations all over the World are fighting to save this species , so the Echo in their ignorance and desire for sensation do this , I hope they receive many complaints , what's next , a picture of a Japanese Whaler standing next to a Humpback ?[/p][/quote]Do your homework muppet......... Unlike the other bluefins (Atlantic and southern),[9][10] the Pacific bluefin tuna is not listed as threatened by the IUCN.[1] Overfishing is occurring in the Pacific bluefin, but overall the stock is not in an overfished condition.[11] In 2000–2004, between 16,000 tonnes and 29,000 tonnes were caught per year.[1] Its wide range and migratory behavior leads to some problems, since fisheries in the species are managed by several different Regional Fisheries Management Organisations that sometimes give conflicting advice. The IUCN have recommended that the responsibility is moved to a single organisation.[1] In 2010, it was estimated that the complete spawning biomass was 40–60% of the historically observed spawning biomass.[1] hammer83
  • Score: 0

8:28pm Sat 24 Nov 12

hammer83 says...

Forest_Nymph wrote:
I am horrified that in this day and age people want to kill animals for "fun" or "sport" ....... this CRITICALLY ENDANGERED creature will more than likely finish up on the plates of those rich people who can afford to buy "luxury" food - not because they need it to survive - but simply because they CAN. Shame on the Echo for glamorising the needless killing of ENDANGERED animals. Fishing to eat is one thing - but fishing to wipe out a whole species for "FUN" is quite another. The eating of this fish is un-necessary to survival of the human species. It is deemed a "luxury" and no doubt some fat, greed, over weight, selfish millionaire will tuck into parts of it tonight, if indeed they haven't already ......... I am disgusted with the people who do such things - and with the Echo for reporting on it in such a light hearted way. Shame on all concerned!!
Your a muppet - it tastes good........
Unlike the other bluefins (Atlantic and southern), the Pacific bluefin tuna is not listed as threatened by the IUCN. Overfishing is occurring in the Pacific bluefin, but overall the stock is not in an overfished condition. In 2000–2004, between 16,000 tonnes and 29,000 tonnes were caught per year. Its wide range and migratory behavior leads to some problems, since fisheries in the species are managed by several different Regional Fisheries Management Organisations that sometimes give conflicting advice. The IUCN have recommended that the responsibility is moved to a single organisation. In 2010, it was estimated that the complete spawning biomass was 40–60% of the historically observed spawning biomass.
[quote][p][bold]Forest_Nymph[/bold] wrote: I am horrified that in this day and age people want to kill animals for "fun" or "sport" ....... this CRITICALLY ENDANGERED creature will more than likely finish up on the plates of those rich people who can afford to buy "luxury" food - not because they need it to survive - but simply because they CAN. Shame on the Echo for glamorising the needless killing of ENDANGERED animals. Fishing to eat is one thing - but fishing to wipe out a whole species for "FUN" is quite another. The eating of this fish is un-necessary to survival of the human species. It is deemed a "luxury" and no doubt some fat, greed, over weight, selfish millionaire will tuck into parts of it tonight, if indeed they haven't already ......... I am disgusted with the people who do such things - and with the Echo for reporting on it in such a light hearted way. Shame on all concerned!![/p][/quote]Your a muppet - it tastes good........ Unlike the other bluefins (Atlantic and southern),[9][10] the Pacific bluefin tuna is not listed as threatened by the IUCN.[1] Overfishing is occurring in the Pacific bluefin, but overall the stock is not in an overfished condition.[11] In 2000–2004, between 16,000 tonnes and 29,000 tonnes were caught per year.[1] Its wide range and migratory behavior leads to some problems, since fisheries in the species are managed by several different Regional Fisheries Management Organisations that sometimes give conflicting advice. The IUCN have recommended that the responsibility is moved to a single organisation.[1] In 2010, it was estimated that the complete spawning biomass was 40–60% of the historically observed spawning biomass.[1] hammer83
  • Score: 0

8:36pm Sat 24 Nov 12

scientifically justified quota.. says...

http://channel.natio
nalgeographic.com/ch
annel/videos/sustain
ability-bluefin-quot
as/
http://channel.natio nalgeographic.com/ch annel/videos/sustain ability-bluefin-quot as/ scientifically justified quota..
  • Score: 0

9:11pm Sat 24 Nov 12

YouSadPeopleGetALife says...

MESSAGE TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTED ON THIS POST!!!!

What a load of idiots you all are,you clearly know none of the facts involved here and you are all making ludacris comments and accusations based on a basic snippet of info on a subject you know nothing about...

This fish was caught by an angler yes, but during the commercial season! So if the Bournemouth based angler would not have been there the fish would still have been caught and killed by the fisherman who makes his living catching a strict quota of Tuna.
If this was not during the commercial season then the angler would have practiced catch and release like every angler would normally do...
Do not blame the man he has done nothing wrong and you should all be ashamed of your self's these comments are offensive and misdirected.

Sorry to put it so bluntly but this article with misguided information has caused some stupid comments from keyboard warriors with nothing better to do on a rainy Saturday than slate each article the Echo publishes...
MESSAGE TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTED ON THIS POST!!!! What a load of idiots you all are,you clearly know none of the facts involved here and you are all making ludacris comments and accusations based on a basic snippet of info on a subject you know nothing about... This fish was caught by an angler yes, but during the commercial season! So if the Bournemouth based angler would not have been there the fish would still have been caught and killed by the fisherman who makes his living catching a strict quota of Tuna. If this was not during the commercial season then the angler would have practiced catch and release like every angler would normally do... Do not blame the man he has done nothing wrong and you should all be ashamed of your self's these comments are offensive and misdirected. Sorry to put it so bluntly but this article with misguided information has caused some stupid comments from keyboard warriors with nothing better to do on a rainy Saturday than slate each article the Echo publishes... YouSadPeopleGetALife
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Sat 24 Nov 12

cheeriedriteup says...

polblagger wrote:
tricky1007 wrote:
Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!!
I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter.

I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed.

This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting.

This is not the middle ages people.
You would have to wait more than two hours for a lettuce or tomato to grow!
[quote][p][bold]polblagger[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tricky1007[/bold] wrote: Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!![/p][/quote]I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter. I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed. This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting. This is not the middle ages people.[/p][/quote]You would have to wait more than two hours for a lettuce or tomato to grow! cheeriedriteup
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Sat 24 Nov 12

cheeriedriteup says...

polblagger wrote:
tricky1007 wrote:
Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!!
I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter.

I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed.

This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting.

This is not the middle ages people.
You would have to wait more than two hours for a lettuce or tomato to grow!
[quote][p][bold]polblagger[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tricky1007[/bold] wrote: Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!![/p][/quote]I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter. I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed. This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting. This is not the middle ages people.[/p][/quote]You would have to wait more than two hours for a lettuce or tomato to grow! cheeriedriteup
  • Score: 0

10:22pm Sat 24 Nov 12

YouSadPeopleGetALife says...

So whats the alternate option LOL
People moan and complain about trawling with large nets and thousands of fish being thrown away and all the other major problems associated with fishing with nets...
Catching on rod and line is the kindest and most sensible way of catching Tuna.

How else do you expect them to be caught?
So whats the alternate option LOL People moan and complain about trawling with large nets and thousands of fish being thrown away and all the other major problems associated with fishing with nets... Catching on rod and line is the kindest and most sensible way of catching Tuna. How else do you expect them to be caught? YouSadPeopleGetALife
  • Score: 0

3:39am Sun 25 Nov 12

pete woodley says...

I am glad it was not me who caught it,i would have been in real trouble with Over60,Oneshortleg,a
ndOldgit2,The triplets.Poor old s**s.
I am glad it was not me who caught it,i would have been in real trouble with Over60,Oneshortleg,a ndOldgit2,The triplets.Poor old s**s. pete woodley
  • Score: 0

7:37am Sun 25 Nov 12

seahorse steve says...

Amusing comments from the pro blood sports lobby, you assume, as always , that anyone who tries to stick up for environmental issues is a tree hugger who has nothing better to do , I assure you this is not the case , this fish is endangered , the ridiculous excuse that it was the commercial season dosn't wash, these people knew what they were doing , they were out to catch and kill giant Tuna , only to take a trophy shot home , while the skipper made and huge sum of money selling it to the highest bidder , it is no different to rich people that pay to shoot Polar Bears in Greenland , it is short sighted , highly destructive , and it worries me that there are still small minded people that get their jollies from killing things , when anglers are trying to steer away from blood sports and trying to promote responsible practice in the sport, this picture shatters any effort they have made, showing 2 men overjoyed at killing a rare and endangered animal just for kicks , please don't be to ready to attack the trawlers , I don't like them or agree with what they do , but at best they are earning a living , not just doing it for fun like these two , the reporter was ignorant and misinformed , at covering this story , and I will be contacting the angling press and media asking them to avoid this story , and discourage this practice of targeting endangered species .
Amusing comments from the pro blood sports lobby, you assume, as always , that anyone who tries to stick up for environmental issues is a tree hugger who has nothing better to do , I assure you this is not the case , this fish is endangered , the ridiculous excuse that it was the commercial season dosn't wash, these people knew what they were doing , they were out to catch and kill giant Tuna , only to take a trophy shot home , while the skipper made and huge sum of money selling it to the highest bidder , it is no different to rich people that pay to shoot Polar Bears in Greenland , it is short sighted , highly destructive , and it worries me that there are still small minded people that get their jollies from killing things , when anglers are trying to steer away from blood sports and trying to promote responsible practice in the sport, this picture shatters any effort they have made, showing 2 men overjoyed at killing a rare and endangered animal just for kicks , please don't be to ready to attack the trawlers , I don't like them or agree with what they do , but at best they are earning a living , not just doing it for fun like these two , the reporter was ignorant and misinformed , at covering this story , and I will be contacting the angling press and media asking them to avoid this story , and discourage this practice of targeting endangered species . seahorse steve
  • Score: 0

10:30am Sun 25 Nov 12

Worldwide Angler says...

seahorse steve wrote:
Amusing comments from the pro blood sports lobby, you assume, as always , that anyone who tries to stick up for environmental issues is a tree hugger who has nothing better to do , I assure you this is not the case , this fish is endangered , the ridiculous excuse that it was the commercial season dosn't wash, these people knew what they were doing , they were out to catch and kill giant Tuna , only to take a trophy shot home , while the skipper made and huge sum of money selling it to the highest bidder , it is no different to rich people that pay to shoot Polar Bears in Greenland , it is short sighted , highly destructive , and it worries me that there are still small minded people that get their jollies from killing things , when anglers are trying to steer away from blood sports and trying to promote responsible practice in the sport, this picture shatters any effort they have made, showing 2 men overjoyed at killing a rare and endangered animal just for kicks , please don't be to ready to attack the trawlers , I don't like them or agree with what they do , but at best they are earning a living , not just doing it for fun like these two , the reporter was ignorant and misinformed , at covering this story , and I will be contacting the angling press and media asking them to avoid this story , and discourage this practice of targeting endangered species .
" .amusing comments from the pro blood sports lobby "

Typical comment from an environmental warrior , I was one of the majority of anglers who refused to unite with the fox hunting brigade years ago , when they asked us to support them . I know that the wildlife and surroundings we fish in are very important to anglers.
But as can be seen from your earlier defence of cormorants , which have devastated some waterways in the UK,you don't really know a lot about nature .do you ? How can you defend trawlers empying the sea ,then be upset by the taking of a couple of fish by rod and line ?
[quote][p][bold]seahorse steve[/bold] wrote: Amusing comments from the pro blood sports lobby, you assume, as always , that anyone who tries to stick up for environmental issues is a tree hugger who has nothing better to do , I assure you this is not the case , this fish is endangered , the ridiculous excuse that it was the commercial season dosn't wash, these people knew what they were doing , they were out to catch and kill giant Tuna , only to take a trophy shot home , while the skipper made and huge sum of money selling it to the highest bidder , it is no different to rich people that pay to shoot Polar Bears in Greenland , it is short sighted , highly destructive , and it worries me that there are still small minded people that get their jollies from killing things , when anglers are trying to steer away from blood sports and trying to promote responsible practice in the sport, this picture shatters any effort they have made, showing 2 men overjoyed at killing a rare and endangered animal just for kicks , please don't be to ready to attack the trawlers , I don't like them or agree with what they do , but at best they are earning a living , not just doing it for fun like these two , the reporter was ignorant and misinformed , at covering this story , and I will be contacting the angling press and media asking them to avoid this story , and discourage this practice of targeting endangered species .[/p][/quote]" .amusing comments from the pro blood sports lobby " Typical comment from an environmental warrior , I was one of the majority of anglers who refused to unite with the fox hunting brigade years ago , when they asked us to support them . I know that the wildlife and surroundings we fish in are very important to anglers. But as can be seen from your earlier defence of cormorants , which have devastated some waterways in the UK,you don't really know a lot about nature .do you ? How can you defend trawlers empying the sea ,then be upset by the taking of a couple of fish by rod and line ? Worldwide Angler
  • Score: 0

2:37pm Sun 25 Nov 12

YouSadPeopleGetALife says...

Another class A retard, a well written but again uneducated passage of writing. The angler has no idea if it is the commercial season he is just going on a fishing holiday.I feel these comments keep coming back to the angler when like i already said this would have happened anyway because the owner of the boat makes his living from catching fish, which he is doing to a strict quota as per the laws in CANADA!

The only difference here is someone took a photo of the fish, saying the angler gets his jollies from killing fish...? Who the F@£K do you think you are i can guarantee that angler would have got much more joy from seeing his catch released back into the sea to fight another day..

BLOOD SPORT again another accusation based on guess work, well done you idiot.Cant say it in any plainer English this fish would have been killed and sold without the Bournemouth angler there..Its a way of making a living by Fisherman in CANADA(not saying i agree with killing fish i hate the idea of any fish being killed)

If you have a problem with the commercial fisherman or the quota allowance or time period they go and moan at the Canadian fisherman or the person in charge of the quotas. Don't pick on a local angler just to feel all high and mighty on the Bournemouth Echo forums..

Think about who and where you direct your stupid comments because they wont be coming my way....
Another class A retard, a well written but again uneducated passage of writing. The angler has no idea if it is the commercial season he is just going on a fishing holiday.I feel these comments keep coming back to the angler when like i already said this would have happened anyway because the owner of the boat makes his living from catching fish, which he is doing to a strict quota as per the laws in CANADA! The only difference here is someone took a photo of the fish, saying the angler gets his jollies from killing fish...? Who the F@£K do you think you are i can guarantee that angler would have got much more joy from seeing his catch released back into the sea to fight another day.. BLOOD SPORT again another accusation based on guess work, well done you idiot.Cant say it in any plainer English this fish would have been killed and sold without the Bournemouth angler there..Its a way of making a living by Fisherman in CANADA(not saying i agree with killing fish i hate the idea of any fish being killed) If you have a problem with the commercial fisherman or the quota allowance or time period they go and moan at the Canadian fisherman or the person in charge of the quotas. Don't pick on a local angler just to feel all high and mighty on the Bournemouth Echo forums.. Think about who and where you direct your stupid comments because they wont be coming my way.... YouSadPeopleGetALife
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Bigbaddon says...

Who Cares .. will be another pathetic story tomorrow no doubt anyway ....

Rabbit Found Eating Grass ..

A Bear Some A S**t In The Woods ...

Woman Has A Letter Posted Through Her Door.
Who Cares .. will be another pathetic story tomorrow no doubt anyway .... Rabbit Found Eating Grass .. A Bear Some A S**t In The Woods ... Woman Has A Letter Posted Through Her Door. Bigbaddon
  • Score: 0

6:06pm Sun 25 Nov 12

polblagger says...

mansak_hunt wrote:
polblagger wrote:
tricky1007 wrote:
Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!!
I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter.

I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed.

This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting.

This is not the middle ages people.
So how else are you going to catch it?
Harpoon?
Trawl net?
If it is not exhausted, how else will they get it on the boat?
The two hour battle is a macho past time done for no other reason than fisherman bragging rights.

Once the fish was hooked it could have been winched in and killed humanly in seconds.

You fool.
[quote][p][bold]mansak_hunt[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]polblagger[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tricky1007[/bold] wrote: Get a grip people, fishing was one of the first ways man got food to eat! And who says the fish will not be used for eating, its worth £20,000! If i was in charge of the fishing trip i would make sure i found a buyer!![/p][/quote]I have no issues with fishing, or eating fish, or meat for that matter. I do however have an issue with making an animal fight for it's life for 2 hours until it's so exhausted it allows itself to be killed. This is tantamount to a 2 hour bull fight, 2 hour fox hunt or 2 hours of bear baiting. This is not the middle ages people.[/p][/quote]So how else are you going to catch it? Harpoon? Trawl net? If it is not exhausted, how else will they get it on the boat?[/p][/quote]The two hour battle is a macho past time done for no other reason than fisherman bragging rights. Once the fish was hooked it could have been winched in and killed humanly in seconds. You fool. polblagger
  • Score: 0

6:33pm Sun 25 Nov 12

YouSadPeopleGetALife says...

You cant just winch in a 1000lb Tuna its a strong and powerful fish it would break the line or bend the hook?

If the fish could be brought in any sooner im sure the angler would not do a 2hr battle it ishard work..
You cant just winch in a 1000lb Tuna its a strong and powerful fish it would break the line or bend the hook? If the fish could be brought in any sooner im sure the angler would not do a 2hr battle it ishard work.. YouSadPeopleGetALife
  • Score: 0

7:00pm Sun 25 Nov 12

seahorse steve says...

Worldwide Angler, I didn't defend trawling, my point was anglers who take part in destructive practices , such as killing endangered species , should not try and justify their actions by attacking the commercial fishing effort , the end result is still a dead rare and endangered fish with 2 grinning anglers posing next to it , as for your comment that I know nothing about nature , I am a professional wildlife photographer , and have worked on many marine conservation projects , so I am more than aware of the pressures it faces , as for Cormorants , they are natural , rivers and lakes that have been filled with fish by anglers wishing to sit under brolly's , is not , why should they suffer ?, I suppose you will now tell me how much the angling industry is worth, a trawlerman would say the same , rather an ' environmental warrior ' than trophy hunter .
Worldwide Angler, I didn't defend trawling, my point was anglers who take part in destructive practices , such as killing endangered species , should not try and justify their actions by attacking the commercial fishing effort , the end result is still a dead rare and endangered fish with 2 grinning anglers posing next to it , as for your comment that I know nothing about nature , I am a professional wildlife photographer , and have worked on many marine conservation projects , so I am more than aware of the pressures it faces , as for Cormorants , they are natural , rivers and lakes that have been filled with fish by anglers wishing to sit under brolly's , is not , why should they suffer ?, I suppose you will now tell me how much the angling industry is worth, a trawlerman would say the same , rather an ' environmental warrior ' than trophy hunter . seahorse steve
  • Score: 0

7:13pm Sun 25 Nov 12

polblagger says...

YouSadPeopleGetALife wrote:
You cant just winch in a 1000lb Tuna its a strong and powerful fish it would break the line or bend the hook?

If the fish could be brought in any sooner im sure the angler would not do a 2hr battle it ishard work..
Yes you can.

You're basing your comments on sports fishing tackle.

It's more than possible to find a hook and line capable of the loads exerted.

Sports fishing is one of the last cruel 'man V animal' sports left in the world.

If you think it's impressive to kill a living thing in the slowest, most sadistic way possible then sports fishing's for you.

How would you feel if I tied a horse to a smart car and dragged it to death? That's exactly what these 'fisherman' do with large game fish.
[quote][p][bold]YouSadPeopleGetALife[/bold] wrote: You cant just winch in a 1000lb Tuna its a strong and powerful fish it would break the line or bend the hook? If the fish could be brought in any sooner im sure the angler would not do a 2hr battle it ishard work..[/p][/quote]Yes you can. You're basing your comments on sports fishing tackle. It's more than possible to find a hook and line capable of the loads exerted. Sports fishing is one of the last cruel 'man V animal' sports left in the world. If you think it's impressive to kill a living thing in the slowest, most sadistic way possible then sports fishing's for you. How would you feel if I tied a horse to a smart car and dragged it to death? That's exactly what these 'fisherman' do with large game fish. polblagger
  • Score: 0

7:37pm Sun 25 Nov 12

seahorse steve says...

Its just hunter gatherer types that feel like big men , no different than those who pay large amounts of cash to go a shoot Lions and Polar Bears , only to sit next to them with their rifle , angling can be a low impact method of catching a few for the table , and a peaceful past time , unlike commercial fishing , this is pure trophy hunting of an endangered species , and belongs in the history books , under ' stupid things to do ' .
Its just hunter gatherer types that feel like big men , no different than those who pay large amounts of cash to go a shoot Lions and Polar Bears , only to sit next to them with their rifle , angling can be a low impact method of catching a few for the table , and a peaceful past time , unlike commercial fishing , this is pure trophy hunting of an endangered species , and belongs in the history books , under ' stupid things to do ' . seahorse steve
  • Score: 0

7:48pm Sun 25 Nov 12

YouSadPeopleGetALife says...

Not going to argue there mate i suppose in some peoples eyes fishing of any type is cruel to some extent but all these fish will normally swim away tired but well recovered by the angler before their release.

Killing the fish after the fight is again only done during the commercial season.The tackle is not designed with only the Tuna in mind its stepped up boat gear used for most species.

The fish are killed on the boat and this is a sad sight that no angler wants to see but these fisherman make a living doing this and its their boat and they are fishing to the laws put in place.

Other species caught would have been released after recovering.

The fact of the anglers taking a picture with the dead fish is neither here nor there it happens in many sports, i am not saying you have to like it..
The trophy shot is much better on film while the fish is recovering and then released and what all anglers want.

I am only defending the angler who makes no money from catching this fish and would not have wanted this fish to have suffered or been killed.But these trips are set up by the skipper and if its a time where he can catch fish that make his living then that is what the angler will have to fish for...

Some of the comments where from people targeting the angler in a personal way which is out of order...
Not going to argue there mate i suppose in some peoples eyes fishing of any type is cruel to some extent but all these fish will normally swim away tired but well recovered by the angler before their release. Killing the fish after the fight is again only done during the commercial season.The tackle is not designed with only the Tuna in mind its stepped up boat gear used for most species. The fish are killed on the boat and this is a sad sight that no angler wants to see but these fisherman make a living doing this and its their boat and they are fishing to the laws put in place. Other species caught would have been released after recovering. The fact of the anglers taking a picture with the dead fish is neither here nor there it happens in many sports, i am not saying you have to like it.. The trophy shot is much better on film while the fish is recovering and then released and what all anglers want. I am only defending the angler who makes no money from catching this fish and would not have wanted this fish to have suffered or been killed.But these trips are set up by the skipper and if its a time where he can catch fish that make his living then that is what the angler will have to fish for... Some of the comments where from people targeting the angler in a personal way which is out of order... YouSadPeopleGetALife
  • Score: 0

9:06pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Worldwide Angler says...

seahorse steve wrote:
Worldwide Angler, I didn't defend trawling, my point was anglers who take part in destructive practices , such as killing endangered species , should not try and justify their actions by attacking the commercial fishing effort , the end result is still a dead rare and endangered fish with 2 grinning anglers posing next to it , as for your comment that I know nothing about nature , I am a professional wildlife photographer , and have worked on many marine conservation projects , so I am more than aware of the pressures it faces , as for Cormorants , they are natural , rivers and lakes that have been filled with fish by anglers wishing to sit under brolly's , is not , why should they suffer ?, I suppose you will now tell me how much the angling industry is worth, a trawlerman would say the same , rather an ' environmental warrior ' than trophy hunter .
Had to laugh at this , when I typed the words " you don't know much about nature , do you ?" I thought to myself bet he works with wildlife and you do !!
But I have to disagree with you again ,since when were the rivers of the world stocked by anglers ?
Otters which had all but disappeared from our rivers , have been reintroduced or stocked as you would say , without much thought , nice for wildlife photographers but not for the fish that were there naturally !!
[quote][p][bold]seahorse steve[/bold] wrote: Worldwide Angler, I didn't defend trawling, my point was anglers who take part in destructive practices , such as killing endangered species , should not try and justify their actions by attacking the commercial fishing effort , the end result is still a dead rare and endangered fish with 2 grinning anglers posing next to it , as for your comment that I know nothing about nature , I am a professional wildlife photographer , and have worked on many marine conservation projects , so I am more than aware of the pressures it faces , as for Cormorants , they are natural , rivers and lakes that have been filled with fish by anglers wishing to sit under brolly's , is not , why should they suffer ?, I suppose you will now tell me how much the angling industry is worth, a trawlerman would say the same , rather an ' environmental warrior ' than trophy hunter .[/p][/quote]Had to laugh at this , when I typed the words " you don't know much about nature , do you ?" I thought to myself bet he works with wildlife and you do !! But I have to disagree with you again ,since when were the rivers of the world stocked by anglers ? Otters which had all but disappeared from our rivers , have been reintroduced or stocked as you would say , without much thought , nice for wildlife photographers but not for the fish that were there naturally !! Worldwide Angler
  • Score: 0

9:43pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

Worldwide Angler wrote:
seahorse steve wrote:
Worldwide Angler, I didn't defend trawling, my point was anglers who take part in destructive practices , such as killing endangered species , should not try and justify their actions by attacking the commercial fishing effort , the end result is still a dead rare and endangered fish with 2 grinning anglers posing next to it , as for your comment that I know nothing about nature , I am a professional wildlife photographer , and have worked on many marine conservation projects , so I am more than aware of the pressures it faces , as for Cormorants , they are natural , rivers and lakes that have been filled with fish by anglers wishing to sit under brolly's , is not , why should they suffer ?, I suppose you will now tell me how much the angling industry is worth, a trawlerman would say the same , rather an ' environmental warrior ' than trophy hunter .
Had to laugh at this , when I typed the words " you don't know much about nature , do you ?" I thought to myself bet he works with wildlife and you do !!
But I have to disagree with you again ,since when were the rivers of the world stocked by anglers ?
Otters which had all but disappeared from our rivers , have been reintroduced or stocked as you would say , without much thought , nice for wildlife photographers but not for the fish that were there naturally !!
Bluefin Tuna Resources
Published Aug. 17, 2012
The bluefin tuna is one of the Atlantic Ocean's most remarkable and magnificent creatures. And it is a fish caught in a net of controversy. In huge demand on the international sushi market, the bluefin is now at only about a quarter of its 1950 population level. Many experts fear the species' days are numbered. To understand its precarious ecological predicament—and why its woes are so complicated to solve—requires looking at the aquatic giant from many angles. The following list of organizations are active in the ongoing tuna debate and represent the interests of scientists, conservationists, fishermen, and industry. Explore these different resources and dive deeper into the issues surrounding the bluefin tuna.
[quote][p][bold]Worldwide Angler[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]seahorse steve[/bold] wrote: Worldwide Angler, I didn't defend trawling, my point was anglers who take part in destructive practices , such as killing endangered species , should not try and justify their actions by attacking the commercial fishing effort , the end result is still a dead rare and endangered fish with 2 grinning anglers posing next to it , as for your comment that I know nothing about nature , I am a professional wildlife photographer , and have worked on many marine conservation projects , so I am more than aware of the pressures it faces , as for Cormorants , they are natural , rivers and lakes that have been filled with fish by anglers wishing to sit under brolly's , is not , why should they suffer ?, I suppose you will now tell me how much the angling industry is worth, a trawlerman would say the same , rather an ' environmental warrior ' than trophy hunter .[/p][/quote]Had to laugh at this , when I typed the words " you don't know much about nature , do you ?" I thought to myself bet he works with wildlife and you do !! But I have to disagree with you again ,since when were the rivers of the world stocked by anglers ? Otters which had all but disappeared from our rivers , have been reintroduced or stocked as you would say , without much thought , nice for wildlife photographers but not for the fish that were there naturally !![/p][/quote]Bluefin Tuna Resources Published Aug. 17, 2012 The bluefin tuna is one of the Atlantic Ocean's most remarkable and magnificent creatures. And it is a fish caught in a net of controversy. In huge demand on the international sushi market, the bluefin is now at only about a quarter of its 1950 population level. Many experts fear the species' days are numbered. To understand its precarious ecological predicament—and why its woes are so complicated to solve—requires looking at the aquatic giant from many angles. The following list of organizations are active in the ongoing tuna debate and represent the interests of scientists, conservationists, fishermen, and industry. Explore these different resources and dive deeper into the issues surrounding the bluefin tuna. rod and line
  • Score: 0

9:53pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

There are many ways to catch bluefin tuna—including handline, harpoon, purse-seine nets, and longlines—but U.S. fishermen overwhelmingly use rod and reel.

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data for 2011, fishermen using rod and reel landed about 640 metric tons of Atlantic bluefin, compared to 74 metric tons using longlines and 29 metric tons using harpoons. Longlines set for other fish accidentally caught and killed thousands of bluefin which were then discarded, perhaps as much as the 120 metric tons discarded in 2010. Still, rod and reel catches represent close to 75 percent of all bluefin caught in the U.S.

The proportion of fish caught by rod and reel is remarkable considering that unlike fishermen who use purse-seine nets, rod-and-reel fishermen must catch bluefin one fish at a time, and bluefin fight long and hard to avoid being hauled in. While there don't seem to be statistics on the amount of time it typically takes to catch one, in a 1936 article for Rotarian magazine, a sport fisherman who caught a 542-pound bluefin wrote that it took him three hours and forty minutes to haul in his catch.

Rod-and-reel fishing for bluefin started in the early 1900s, and was made possible by the invention of the heavy reel with a disc-clutch drag, a type of handle that would not turn backwards, according to Dave Preble's book The Fishes of the Sea: Commercial and Sport Fishing in New England. Before that, fishermen who tried to catch bluefin with rods and reels often ended up with bruised or broken knuckles.

The biggest bluefin caught in the north Atlantic with rod and reel was a fish taken off Nova Scotia in 1979, which weighed 1,496 pounds. In Massachusetts, the record is an only slightly less astonishing one, 1,228-pound fish, caught in 1984.

Bluefin fishing gear is relatively costly, with a rod and reel typically costing $1,200, according to the publication New England Sportsman. Until recently, the standard practice among professional bluefin fishermen was to use extremely heavy-duty lines and hooks. The 2001 book Tuna: Physiology, Ecology and Evolution, edited by Barbara Block and Ernest Donald Stevens, notes that "the heaviest tackle that tuna will bite on is used," and describes the typical gear as a 20-kilogram line with circle hooks. In recent years, however, fishermen have switched to lighter-weight equipment—"shy gear," in fishing lingo—which they claim is necessary because bluefin have learned not to go for the gear they previously used. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries recommends a high-quality reel spooled with a 200-pound test line.

According to one sport-fishing website, a large bluefin tuna can take about 200 yards of fishing line as it tries to get away from the fishing boat. The fisherman's goal is to gradually slow down the fish, which can swim up to 40 miles per hour at top speed, to three miles per hour.

Boats fishing for yellowfin tuna and other species in the Gulf of Mexico sometimes inadvertently hook bluefin tuna that spawn in the area as well, which poses a threat to bluefin viability. In recent years, Gulf fishermen have begun using special so-called "weak" hooks developed in part by NOAA, which are circular and lighter than their previous hooks. The idea is that these hooks will flatten/straighten under the weight of the far-heavier bluefin, and allow the fish to swim away. In two years of tests, the new hooks helped reduce the number of bluefin accidentally caught by 56 percent.

It's difficult to come up with accurate statistics, but bluefin fishermen say that most bluefin who are hooked somehow manage to get away. In an article for theNew England Sportsman website, Mike Christy writes that the bluefin fishing is "90 percent preparation, nine percent disappointment and one percent success."

U.S. fishermen's catches of bluefin by so-called "handgear"—that is, rod and reel, harpoon, and handlines—peaked back in 1966 at 3,615 metric tons, according to the American Bluefin Tuna Association. The imposition of quotas has drastically reduced the U.S. catch. In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, the handgear catch amounted to about 725 metric tons.

Rod and Reel: Bluefin Tuna Fishing by the Numbers Related Content

Explore More

Ocean Initiative

For Educators: Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Seafood Decision Guide

10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean

Plight of the Bluefin Tuna

Seafood Crisis: Time for a Sea Change

Still Waters: The Global Fish Crisis

Gloucester's Finest
There are many ways to catch bluefin tuna—including handline, harpoon, purse-seine nets, and longlines—but U.S. fishermen overwhelmingly use rod and reel. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data for 2011, fishermen using rod and reel landed about 640 metric tons of Atlantic bluefin, compared to 74 metric tons using longlines and 29 metric tons using harpoons. Longlines set for other fish accidentally caught and killed thousands of bluefin which were then discarded, perhaps as much as the 120 metric tons discarded in 2010. Still, rod and reel catches represent close to 75 percent of all bluefin caught in the U.S. The proportion of fish caught by rod and reel is remarkable considering that unlike fishermen who use purse-seine nets, rod-and-reel fishermen must catch bluefin one fish at a time, and bluefin fight long and hard to avoid being hauled in. While there don't seem to be statistics on the amount of time it typically takes to catch one, in a 1936 article for Rotarian magazine, a sport fisherman who caught a 542-pound bluefin wrote that it took him three hours and forty minutes to haul in his catch. Rod-and-reel fishing for bluefin started in the early 1900s, and was made possible by the invention of the heavy reel with a disc-clutch drag, a type of handle that would not turn backwards, according to Dave Preble's book The Fishes of the Sea: Commercial and Sport Fishing in New England. Before that, fishermen who tried to catch bluefin with rods and reels often ended up with bruised or broken knuckles. The biggest bluefin caught in the north Atlantic with rod and reel was a fish taken off Nova Scotia in 1979, which weighed 1,496 pounds. In Massachusetts, the record is an only slightly less astonishing one, 1,228-pound fish, caught in 1984. Bluefin fishing gear is relatively costly, with a rod and reel typically costing $1,200, according to the publication New England Sportsman. Until recently, the standard practice among professional bluefin fishermen was to use extremely heavy-duty lines and hooks. The 2001 book Tuna: Physiology, Ecology and Evolution, edited by Barbara Block and Ernest Donald Stevens, notes that "the heaviest tackle that tuna will bite on is used," and describes the typical gear as a 20-kilogram line with circle hooks. In recent years, however, fishermen have switched to lighter-weight equipment—"shy gear," in fishing lingo—which they claim is necessary because bluefin have learned not to go for the gear they previously used. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries recommends a high-quality reel spooled with a 200-pound test line. According to one sport-fishing website, a large bluefin tuna can take about 200 yards of fishing line as it tries to get away from the fishing boat. The fisherman's goal is to gradually slow down the fish, which can swim up to 40 miles per hour at top speed, to three miles per hour. Boats fishing for yellowfin tuna and other species in the Gulf of Mexico sometimes inadvertently hook bluefin tuna that spawn in the area as well, which poses a threat to bluefin viability. In recent years, Gulf fishermen have begun using special so-called "weak" hooks developed in part by NOAA, which are circular and lighter than their previous hooks. The idea is that these hooks will flatten/straighten under the weight of the far-heavier bluefin, and allow the fish to swim away. In two years of tests, the new hooks helped reduce the number of bluefin accidentally caught by 56 percent. It's difficult to come up with accurate statistics, but bluefin fishermen say that most bluefin who are hooked somehow manage to get away. In an article for theNew England Sportsman website, Mike Christy writes that the bluefin fishing is "90 percent preparation, nine percent disappointment and one percent success." U.S. fishermen's catches of bluefin by so-called "handgear"—that is, rod and reel, harpoon, and handlines—peaked back in 1966 at 3,615 metric tons, according to the American Bluefin Tuna Association. The imposition of quotas has drastically reduced the U.S. catch. In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, the handgear catch amounted to about 725 metric tons. Rod and Reel: Bluefin Tuna Fishing by the Numbers Related Content Explore More Ocean Initiative For Educators: Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Seafood Decision Guide 10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean Plight of the Bluefin Tuna Seafood Crisis: Time for a Sea Change Still Waters: The Global Fish Crisis Gloucester's Finest rod and line
  • Score: 0

10:04pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

The following text is republished from the August 1982 issue of National Geographic Magazine

With the roar of the diesel and the whine of a 15-gear transmission, the tractor trailer pulled away from St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia. Our cargo: seven six-foot-long ice-packed containers. Each held a giant bluefin tuna. I had joined them for an 8,000-mile journey from eastern Canada to Japan.

Thirty-one hours later the truck squealed to a stop at Japan Air Lines’ freight terminal in New York City. We took off into predawn skies: Niagara Falls . . . the Canadian Rockies . . . Anchorage. Over the Bering Sea, with the Aleutian Islands to the south and the Soviet Union’s Kamchatka Peninsula to the west, we crossed the date line, then set down at Tokyo’s new Narita Airport.

Through rush-hour traffic in Tokyo I accompanied the seven bluefin to the Tsukiji Market, one of the world’s largest. There a technician took their temperature, cut thin slices from tail and abdomen to judge fat content, flesh color, freshness. Muscle temperature was ideal—40 to 45°F; higher would indicate loss in flesh quality; lower, frozen outer layers—a bane to gourmets. These bluefin graded high, harvested in late October precisely when the flesh appeals most to the Japanese palate.

Three containers were repacked with ice and trucked out. Regional tastes dictate destinations: Kyoto prefers reddish meat; Yokohama, pink; Osaka, oily. Four bluefin were reserved for Tokyo, which favors meat of the brightest red.

Next morning, at 5:50, a bell summoned tuna brokers in numbered hats to a tiered stand. The auctioneer, hand raised for silence, exploded with a startling “kiai!” The bluefin averaged $6.80 a pound.

I followed one on its cart to a vendor, who carved it with a razor-sharp five-foot knife. Prime cuts, the muscle around the body cavity, now retailed for $17 a pound. I tracked ten pounds of it to a raw fish bar. Here connoisseurs paid $24 a pound.

How can one explain its appeal? Artist Stanley Meltzoff put it this way: “Fresh bluefin at the peak of their autumnal fattening, cut paper-thin and eaten raw, provide an experience for which the Japanese have a vocabulary of distinctions as exquisite as that of the French for Bordeaux wines.”

The traditional Japanese raw fish dish of sashimi, or sushi if it is combined with rice, is not just tuna. For many, late season jumbo maguro—the North American giant bluefin—is the ultimate epicurean delight. Regardless of one’s income, the Japanese New Year, a birthday, or a wedding is not complete without it.

I ordered a slice. It melted in my mouth. It was 10 a.m. Thursday. Five days earlier that mouthful had been part of a bluefin swimming in Nova Scotia waters, half a world away.

Delicious. But my curiosity about bluefin is not culinary, nor do I identify with sport fishermen, for whom landing this largest, speediest, most powerful of tunas is the peak of thrills. As a marine scientist enthralled for many years by these magnificent beasts, I am interested in their future well-being.

Novelist Zane Grey boated a 758-pound bluefin in Nova Scotia waters in 1924 that for a decade remained a world record. Nova Scotia in October 1979 also set the present record with a 1,496-pound bluefin about 32 years old. Because the bluefin keeps on growing, I can imagine 35-year-olds swimming out there that weigh a ton.

Among the largest of fish, the bluefin is also one of the fastest, capable of bursts up to 55 miles an hour. Three-quarters muscle, hydrodynamically superb, with a powerful heart, ramjet ventilation, heat exchangers, and other special adaptations, the bluefin is built for speed. No predators except the mako shark and the killer whale can catch it. Because of this remarkable speed, the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus gave the bluefin its scientific name, Thunnus thynnus, from thuno, the Greek verb meaning “rush.”

Scientists classify the bluefin and 12 other species of tuna, or tunny, as the tribe Thunnini within the family Scombridae. Tuna, the common name in North America, most probably originated with 19th-century immigrant fishermen in California. Of the world’s 20,000 fish species, the family Scombridae is among the most advanced, renowned for speed and endurance. The bluefin marks the zenith of this evolution.

Studying these superfish underwater, swimming among them in scuba gear in St. Margarets Bay, I have come to feel a personal affinity with them. I admire the power in their streamlined bodies and the grace with which they soar and glide within waves, much as birds do in rising air. I recognize individuals by their behavior—even know some by nickname, such as the glutton Piggy. They are quite used to divers and shiver when touched. Still there is danger. To have a thousand pounds of bluefin suddenly come at you in the murky water gives you a gut feeling for its size and speed. A close turn by a feeding bluefin can hurl you backward in an avalanche of water. I worry about a second behemoth barreling through that curtain of bubbles and not seeing me.

Delicious and Valuable Resource

My scientific fascination with the bluefin has deep roots. Aristotle in his History of Animals recorded observations on age and growth of tuna by ancient Greek fishermen and speculated on their migrations. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote that Alexander the Great’s fleet once met a school of bluefin so vast that the galleys had to advance in battle line to force their way through. Indeed, the tuna had caught man’s eye thousands of years earlier. A Spanish cave drawing above the Bay of Biscay depicts the fish—one of the few we know to be so honored during the Ice Age.

Only 3 percent of the world fish catch in weight, tuna yet constitute one of the sea’s most valuable living resources. Japan and the United States lead in catch of the principal market species, up almost sevenfold since 1948. Fishermen get $1,000 to $3,000 a ton for frozen tuna—the skipjack, yellowfin, albacore, and bigeye you find in cans in the supermarket. In Japan, fresh bluefin can command 10 to 15 times that price.

The bluefin frequents both the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Atlantic population spawns in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean and feeds as far north as the Arctic Circle, making it one of the long-distance champions among migratory fish. By the age of 15 a bluefin will have swum an estimated million miles. In fact it moves every minute of its life. Prevent it from swimming and it will soon die from lack of oxygen.

Depending on age, each female carries from one million to thirty million eggs. Blue fin spawn fractionally, not releasing all the eggs in one session. The translucent eggs, a millimeter in diameter, float a few feet below the surface. The larvae hatch and grow rapidly, preyed upon by many species including their own. Bluefin reach nine pounds the first year, 640 pounds the 14th, and mature in three to five years.

Since 1955, bluefin of all sizes have been tagged in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The returned tags—more than 3,000—indicate migration patterns. Two small bluefin tagged off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 1954 and recaptured in the Bay of Biscay five years later provided the first proof of transatlantic migrations. There have since been at least 50 recorded.

Seven giant bluefin tagged in the Straits of Florida have been recaptured in Norwegian waters, lean in contrast to the resident giants, presumably from migrating across the relatively barren mid-Atlantic. The crossing takes two to four months; one tuna averaged 80 miles a day, a current-assisted cruising speed of three knots. To date only six small bluefin tagged in the eastern Atlantic have been recaptured in the west. Conclusion: The Atlantic bluefin population consists of separate eastern and western stocks with a small, variable interchange.

The predictability of the bluefin’s marathon migrations between spawning and feeding grounds has threatened its survival. Every year the fish must run a gantlet of fisheries: purse-seine and longline fleets, traps, and pole-and-line and sport fishermen.

Today purse seiners account for half the Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin catch. In 1958 the U.S. purse seiner Silver Mink demonstrated that the use of newly developed nylon purse seines in combination with a hydraulic device to haul in the net made catching bluefin off New England commercially feasible. From Cape Cod Bay the fishery expanded southward within a hundred-mile coastal belt to Cape Charles, Virginia. Canadian vessels also began to seine there. When fishing was poor for tropical tuna in the eastern Pacific or eastern Atlantic, superseiners arrived from Puerto Rico as well as the California clipper fleet (formerly pole-and-line vessels), swelling the new fishery to 18 purse seiners by 1963.

At St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Capt. Matt Giacalone showed me around the 250-foot Zapata Pathfinder. The streamlined superseiner reminded me of a Greek shipping magnate’s yacht. Sophisticated in equipment—with a satellite navigation system and a helicopter to spot tuna—such a vessel would cost 10 to 15 million dollars today. The carpet pile thickened as we moved from the bridge, through the navigation room, to the captain’s spacious suite with its bar and lounge, king-size bed, and golden bathroom faucets. A 20-man Central American crew also was well accommodated.

Considered the elite of the fishing world, superseiner captains and crews are paid according to their catch. A skipper can earn $100,000 to $250,000 a year. One fleet manager told me, “If the captain’s earnings drop below my salary, I fire him.”

As a seiner approaches the fishing grounds, the mast man in the crow’s nest sweeps the water with swivel-mounted binoculars. Crewmen ready the seine skiff atop the stacked purse seine at the stern.

Some captains claim to have a sixth sense for the presence of tuna; tangible signs are concentrations of birds, whales or porpoises, and floating logs and garbage, which attract fish on which tuna prey.

A school is sighted! The helicopter lifts off. From it the captain will direct the setting of the seine. Over the side goes the seine skiff with the end of the net, and the purse seiner encircles the school at full throttle, 17 knots, paying out all 4,000 feet of cork-floated net, extending down about 330 feet. Explosives resound as men throw cherry bombs to prevent fish from escaping during encirclement.

The seiner winches in the purse line to close the seine’s bottom and trap the fish, then slowly hauls in the net with the overhead power block. Hoisted with dip nets into a hopper and sent by chutes to below-deck tanks, the catch is immersed in brine and frozen. The Zapata Pathfinder’s 20 wells can refrigerate 1,700 tons of tuna—one and a half times the total annual United States and Canadian bluefin catch before the Silver Mink’s demonstration cruise.

Fleet capacity now far exceeds the potential catch, and the fishery has fallen into erratic decline. The older fish have been depleted; one- to three-year-old bluefin predominate in contrast to the three- to six-year-olds prior to 1965.

Big Market for Young Tuna

Actually, the canneries prefer immature bluefin. Like other long-lived species, blue fin accumulate mercury with age; hence the larger fish generally exceed U.S. and Canadian legal maximums and must be mixed with younger tuna to reduce the mercury concentration, or be used as animal food. But the scarcity of medium bluefin does not augur well for the health of the fish population or the economic viability of the fishery.

Similarly, in the Mediterranean, purse seiners caught large numbers of small bluefin less than a year old (60,000 fish in one set off Sicily) prior to 1976. The Italian fleet, centered in the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic Seas, expanded rapidly in the 1970s, and together with the French fleet captured a peak of 13,000 tons of bluefin in 1976. Now their catch is little more than half that figure.

Asian longline fleets are another threat to the fragile bluefin population. In one year, 1962, Japanese fishermen set and reset 12 million nautical miles of longline—enough to girdle the globe more than 500 times. Their 400 million baited hooks brought in 400,000 tons of tuna—almost half the world catch. In 1980 the Japanese longline fleet in the Atlantic consisted of 300 vessels; they captured 4,000 tons of bluefin, 24 percent of that year’s Atlantic catch.

The longline, developed by the Japanese some 250 years ago, exploits the larger tuna at depths to 500 feet during their oceanic migrations. Fish find the bait rather than men finding the fish, as with purse seining.

Starting at dawn, men bait the hooks on drop lines and pay out the surface-floated and flagged longline from the stern while the boat moves at seven or eight knots. On completing the set—as much as 80 miles of line—they begin to haul in at midday, gaffing the fish and gutting the large ones before freezing. The crew will finish around midnight—an exhausting day’s work, particularly as longliners may stay at sea three months at a time. Unlike superseiners, quarters are cramped and Spartan.

Tuna’s Taste Long Treasured

Trap, or set net, fisheries go back 3,000 years to the Phoenicians, who trapped bluefin near the Strait of Gibraltar. The word almadraba, Moorish for “trap,” came into Spain with the eighth century A.D. conquest. Barrels of salted bluefin from traps granted by the crown fed the family fortune of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia, who led the Spanish Armada. Coins bore tuna images, as still does the Cádiz town hall facade.

Nearby, the famous almadraba of Barbate consists of net walls anchored to the seafloor in a hundred feet of water two miles offshore. A pair of leaders, almost two miles long, guides migrating bluefin to four chambers. In the final death chamber, men raise the net floor, aptly termed “red matador,” twice a day. Crews maintain and operate the trap with ten types of vessels, installing it in April and dismantling it in October, a tremendous task.

That most productive trap in the Atlantic-Mediterrane
an system averaged 18,000 bluefin a year from 1929-1962, and peaked with 43,500 in 1949. But it has since fallen below 2,000. Similarly, the Italian tonnare, a hundred strong at the turn of the century, the best of which could catch 10,000 bluefin a season, were reduced to 30 active tonnare by 1950 with a total catch of only 20,000 fish. Last year the remaining five caught fewer than 500 giants.

Publicity, however, has focused on the sport fishery’s decline. Take Nova Scotia, where bluefin, the local “horse mackerel,” were first caught with a dory cod line about 1870. Teams from 19 nations—a who’s who of international sport fishermen—once competed in the annual International Tuna Cup Match, inaugurated in 1937. Then the bluefin departed. Only one was caught in 1975, none the following year. The match has not been held since.

Newfoundland’s rod-and-reel fishery, launched in 1956, peaked in 1966 with 388 giants. I first became involved with research on these magnificent beasts during that record season in Conception Bay. Newfoundland’s 1981 catch: three bluefin.

Today, North Lake, Prince Edward Island, operating some 50 boats during August and September, proclaims itself Tuna Capital of the World. From 578 giants in 1974 it dropped to a mere 55 fish last year.

Since the fleets that harvest the highly migratory tuna operate worldwide, conservation must be international. Concern over their decline led to the founding in 1966 of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

The overfished bluefin had sent many warning signals. Among them were reduced catches of all size groups despite increased fishing, more recaptures of tagged bluefin, and a scarcity of new recruits to the medium and giant ranges.

In spite of ICCAT’s regulations, recent data reveal a continuing decline: a 63 percent drop-off in the Atlantic bluefin catch from 45,000 tons in 1964 to 16,500 tons in 1980. Last February ICCAT nations agreed to halt bluefin fishing in the western Atlantic for two years, except for a limited annual catch for scientific purposes—to monitor population strength. The United States’ share is 605 tons, Japan’s 305, and Canada’s 250, for a total of 1,160 tons.

Short Supply, Insatiable Demand

While scientists battle to conserve the bluefin, the market in Japan, where fish account for nearly half the nation’s protein intake, has undergone a far-reaching change.

With quality fresh tuna in short supply, catches from home waters declining, and more nations forbidding foreign fleets to fish within 200 miles of their coasts, the Japanese have resorted to purchases and joint ventures abroad. In the fall of 1971 they began to airlift chilled bluefin from Taiwan, Australia, Norway, the United States, and Canada. In 1972 North America exported 216 giants. In 1978 the number topped 3,000. Despite the wholesale price doubling in the past five years, the demand appears insatiable. Last January 1, a 352-pounder sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market for a record wholesale price of $19.35 a pound.

Until the advent of Japanese interest in jumbo maguro in the 1970s, the North American giants were primarily a challenge to sport fishermen. Mercury regulations kept them off home markets. But the Japanese accepted the mercury risk and began an enterprise so lucrative that it turned sport fisheries commercial and put “tuna jacking” into the vocabulary. Sportsmen pay $150 a day to charter a tuna boat in Canada, but the catch belongs to the captain. A hooked bluefin is potentially worth $1,000 to $2,000 to him, so woe betide the angler who blunders.

A profitable enterprise, but also unpredictable. Bluefin fail to appear in some waters—or refuse the bait. The Japanese buyers are vulnerable too. Since sashimi cannot be stored and released at a rate to ensure maximum wholesale prices, as with frozen or processed products, an unexpected glut can depress the market. A revolutionary answer? Bluefin ranching.

St. Margarets Bay, 15 miles west of Halifax, has supported a mackerel-trap fishery for years. Second-run mackerel enter the bay in mid-June, followed as predictably by a major predator, the bluefin tuna—to be caught in the mackerel traps.

The Japanese knew of this resource, but those early-run bluefin, without the desired fat that late-run giants accumulate in northern feeding grounds, fetched only a tenth of the price. Then in 1974 Janel Fisheries brought to Nova Scotia waters the feedlot technique familiar to cattlemen. Two huge impoundment nets, suspended by buoys and cork floats and anchored to the seafloor, were placed in 90 feet of water next to one of the mackerel traps.

Fifty bluefin were impounded the first year, pursed from that trap or towed in a cage from distant ones. In 1976 nine impoundments were constructed and 300 bluefin fattened for market. The following year the operation doubled to 18 impoundments holding 948 giants, employing a hundred people, and shipping three-quarters of a million pounds of dressed tuna to Japan at a freight rate alone of a dollar a pound. In 1978 530 bluefin were fattened in 23 impoundments. The decline in catch had begun. Last year only 116 tuna were trapped in St. Margarets Bay.

Scientists Study Bluefin Behavior

Our team from the St. Andrews Biological Station, eager to study the bluefin under confined but relatively natural conditions, began scientific work at St. Margarets Bay in 1975. The ranch owners subsequently installed an additional impoundment specifically for research and invited scientists to undertake a number of projects.

We tagged bluefin with external ultrasonic transmitters and fed them others concealed in food fish to monitor water, muscle, and stomach temperatures, swimming depth and speed, and tail beat. Picked up by a hydrophone, the signals went via underwater cable to shore-based receiving, decoding, and recording equipment.

We even undertook to weigh a live giant, anesthetized with a harpoon-borne syringe and winched out on a tubular metal stretcher. Knowing the precise weight at the beginning and end of residence at the “Bluefin Motel” would enable us to calculate how efficiently the bluefin processes its food.

Giants gain 100 to 200 pounds during their northern feeding migration, most of it in fat. Producing twice as much energy by weight as protein or carbohydrate, fat is the logical fuel for migratory fish, the equivalent of high-octane gasoline. The bluefin’s fuel economy is about twice that of an equivalent-size mammal. Fat also adds to the bluefin’s buoyancy and, sandwiched between layers of connective tissue underlying the skin, acts as a turbulence damper to reduce surface friction.

Bluefin eat most vigorously at dawn, midday, and dusk. Impoundment fish, fed to satiation, can consume 8 to 10 percent of their body weight in food daily. General belief had it that bluefin do not feed at night because they rely on vision rather than smell or hearing when closing on prey. My observations showed, however, that bioluminescent plankton can provide sufficient light for night foraging—the prey fish disturb the plankton, which respond by greater light production, a fatal revelation. Bluefin exhibit no pecking order, select mackerel from different food species offered, and complete digestion in about 20 hours. Perhaps they convey well-fed contentment to other tuna. Once “wild” bluefin were observed trying to get into the impoundment.

Bluefin tissues were analyzed for mercury and other contaminants, and the sexes were successfully distinguished, in the absence of external characteristics, by hormonal analysis of blood samples.

How did we estimate a fish’s age? By microscopic study of growth rings—layers of calcium carbonate laid down at alternating fast (summer) and slow (winter) rates—in vertebrae and in otoliths, small bones in the inner ear.

“A Specially Remarkable Species”

From such studies and underwater observations emerges a physiological and behavioral profile of our superfish: Sighting food, a bluefin breaks formation and accelerates toward it, powered by rapid beats of the large lunate tail fin, with no waves of flexure passing down its steel-hard body as in most fish. The large flexible first dorsal fin and the paired pectoral and pelvic fins quickly retract into slots to reduce drag at high speed. The smallness of its gas bladder increases vertical mobility, with its pectoral fins acting as hydrofoils to compensate for the negative buoyancy of the fish.

Just prior to impact, the retracted fins extend for directional control, the gill covers suddenly open wide, and the prey is sucked in. Ultrasonic telemetry indicates that some water is swallowed with the food rather than going out over the gills, causing a sudden drop in stomach temperature.

The bluefin swims with its mouth partly open, relying on ramjet ventilation, unlike slower fish, which rhythmically force water through their gills to remove oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Seawater contains only about 2.5 percent as much oxygen as in the air we breathe. To get the oxygen it needs from the volume of water flowing through its mouth, the bluefin has proportionately one of the largest gill areas of any fish.

A unique circulatory system, with an exceptionally muscular heart, large volume of blood, and high concentration of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, transports the oxygen under high pressure to the tissues. Unlike a vast majority of fish, which are cold-blooded and dissipate heat (a by-product of metabolism) through the gills, the bluefin conserves and regulates heat, enabling it to feed in northern seas as cold as 40°F and to spawn in tropical waters as warm as 85°F. Bluefin muscle temperature of 88°F has been recorded in water less than 50°F. Paired arteries and veins with opposite directions of flow act as heat exchangers and as a thermal barrier to block heat loss.

The bluefin’s elevated body temperature speeds up transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and relaxation (muscle power increases threefold with an 18°F rise), digestion and assimilation, compensating for its remarkably small stomach.

Indeed, as Pliny the Elder noted 20 centuries ago: “We are dealing with . . . a specially remarkable species.”

We’ve felt a sense of urgency about the research program in St. Margarets Bay, a unique but transient opportunity. The bluefin could suddenly shun these waters, and a failing fishery would attract fewer government research funds and fewer scientists.

Also, the Japanese are making great strides in “domesticating” the bluefin. A 1978 conference cosponsored by the Japanese at the University of Languedoc in southern France considered bluefin aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the possibility of supplementing wild stocks of bluefin with hatchery-reared fish, much like our salmon enhancement schemes. Restocking the oceans, no less!

Spawning fish captured by French and Italian purse seiners and tonnare can be stripped of eggs and milt, as with salmon and trout. Zooplankton from Mediterranean lagoons can provide food for the larvae and juveniles. An assured supply of fertilized eggs to laboratories in interested countries may turn the bluefin’s fortunes.

Is the Bluefin’s Future in Captivity?

“Once we overcome technical problems of supply of eggs and rearing of larvae, bluefin aquaculture will become more profitable than our long-established yellowtail culture,” Dr. Yutaka Hirasawa told me at the Tokyo University of Fisheries. Yellowtail culture currently contributes 150,000 tons to the Japanese market, raised from 75 million fingerlings.

Cultured bluefin convert food into weight more efficiently than the yellowtail and grow five times as fast. They also command a market price even higher than wild fish because of higher fat content.

Boarding the “bullet train” from Tokyo, I raced by fields of rice, tea bushes, and ripening persimmons to Shimizu on the shores of Suruga Bay. There longliners crowded the docks, and the freezer carrier Choshu Maru No. 21 was unloading 300 tons of frozen bluefin caught by Spain’s Barbate trap and the Norwegian purse-seine fleet. At the Far Seas Fisheries Research Laboratory, Dr. Shoji Ueyanagi outlined its two major programs of tuna-aquaculture research, which began in 1970: to collect and artificially fertilize eggs from ripe yellowfin tuna and rear the resulting larvae, and to capture young bluefin and develop techniques to rear them in captivity. A breakthrough came when six research installations overwintered bluefin in net cages.

One of the most successful programs is run by Kinki University at its Kushimoto and Shirahama Laboratories farther southwest on Honshu. With the director, Dr. Teruo Harada, I inspected five circular floating cages of wire netting 90 feet in diameter, 25 feet deep, anchored offshore in the shelter of an island. Each holds a different age group, 5,000 bluefin in all. Less than half a pound when caught in 1974, and fed twice daily, the bluefin weighed 100 to 150 pounds four years later. Summer growth is particularly rapid, the very small bluefin increasing their weight tenfold in four months.

Despite high mortality during capture and transfer to the cages, and the necessity to develop an alternate food since humans consume the abundant fish species in Japan, I am convinced of the ability of Japanese scientists to domesticate the bluefin. Three years ago the fish added their vote of confidence when Dr. Harada’s oldest bluefin, in captivity a record five years, spawned for the first time in captivity.

Juveniles from thousands of its fertilized eggs are now being reared—an exciting scientific challenge.

For the sake of the bluefin, good luck!
The following text is republished from the August 1982 issue of National Geographic Magazine With the roar of the diesel and the whine of a 15-gear transmission, the tractor trailer pulled away from St. Margarets Bay in Nova Scotia. Our cargo: seven six-foot-long ice-packed containers. Each held a giant bluefin tuna. I had joined them for an 8,000-mile journey from eastern Canada to Japan. Thirty-one hours later the truck squealed to a stop at Japan Air Lines’ freight terminal in New York City. We took off into predawn skies: Niagara Falls . . . the Canadian Rockies . . . Anchorage. Over the Bering Sea, with the Aleutian Islands to the south and the Soviet Union’s Kamchatka Peninsula to the west, we crossed the date line, then set down at Tokyo’s new Narita Airport. Through rush-hour traffic in Tokyo I accompanied the seven bluefin to the Tsukiji Market, one of the world’s largest. There a technician took their temperature, cut thin slices from tail and abdomen to judge fat content, flesh color, freshness. Muscle temperature was ideal—40 to 45°F; higher would indicate loss in flesh quality; lower, frozen outer layers—a bane to gourmets. These bluefin graded high, harvested in late October precisely when the flesh appeals most to the Japanese palate. Three containers were repacked with ice and trucked out. Regional tastes dictate destinations: Kyoto prefers reddish meat; Yokohama, pink; Osaka, oily. Four bluefin were reserved for Tokyo, which favors meat of the brightest red. Next morning, at 5:50, a bell summoned tuna brokers in numbered hats to a tiered stand. The auctioneer, hand raised for silence, exploded with a startling “kiai!” The bluefin averaged $6.80 a pound. I followed one on its cart to a vendor, who carved it with a razor-sharp five-foot knife. Prime cuts, the muscle around the body cavity, now retailed for $17 a pound. I tracked ten pounds of it to a raw fish bar. Here connoisseurs paid $24 a pound. How can one explain its appeal? Artist Stanley Meltzoff put it this way: “Fresh bluefin at the peak of their autumnal fattening, cut paper-thin and eaten raw, provide an experience for which the Japanese have a vocabulary of distinctions as exquisite as that of the French for Bordeaux wines.” The traditional Japanese raw fish dish of sashimi, or sushi if it is combined with rice, is not just tuna. For many, late season jumbo maguro—the North American giant bluefin—is the ultimate epicurean delight. Regardless of one’s income, the Japanese New Year, a birthday, or a wedding is not complete without it. I ordered a slice. It melted in my mouth. It was 10 a.m. Thursday. Five days earlier that mouthful had been part of a bluefin swimming in Nova Scotia waters, half a world away. Delicious. But my curiosity about bluefin is not culinary, nor do I identify with sport fishermen, for whom landing this largest, speediest, most powerful of tunas is the peak of thrills. As a marine scientist enthralled for many years by these magnificent beasts, I am interested in their future well-being. Novelist Zane Grey boated a 758-pound bluefin in Nova Scotia waters in 1924 that for a decade remained a world record. Nova Scotia in October 1979 also set the present record with a 1,496-pound bluefin about 32 years old. Because the bluefin keeps on growing, I can imagine 35-year-olds swimming out there that weigh a ton. Among the largest of fish, the bluefin is also one of the fastest, capable of bursts up to 55 miles an hour. Three-quarters muscle, hydrodynamically superb, with a powerful heart, ramjet ventilation, heat exchangers, and other special adaptations, the bluefin is built for speed. No predators except the mako shark and the killer whale can catch it. Because of this remarkable speed, the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus gave the bluefin its scientific name, Thunnus thynnus, from thuno, the Greek verb meaning “rush.” Scientists classify the bluefin and 12 other species of tuna, or tunny, as the tribe Thunnini within the family Scombridae. Tuna, the common name in North America, most probably originated with 19th-century immigrant fishermen in California. Of the world’s 20,000 fish species, the family Scombridae is among the most advanced, renowned for speed and endurance. The bluefin marks the zenith of this evolution. Studying these superfish underwater, swimming among them in scuba gear in St. Margarets Bay, I have come to feel a personal affinity with them. I admire the power in their streamlined bodies and the grace with which they soar and glide within waves, much as birds do in rising air. I recognize individuals by their behavior—even know some by nickname, such as the glutton Piggy. They are quite used to divers and shiver when touched. Still there is danger. To have a thousand pounds of bluefin suddenly come at you in the murky water gives you a gut feeling for its size and speed. A close turn by a feeding bluefin can hurl you backward in an avalanche of water. I worry about a second behemoth barreling through that curtain of bubbles and not seeing me. Delicious and Valuable Resource My scientific fascination with the bluefin has deep roots. Aristotle in his History of Animals recorded observations on age and growth of tuna by ancient Greek fishermen and speculated on their migrations. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote that Alexander the Great’s fleet once met a school of bluefin so vast that the galleys had to advance in battle line to force their way through. Indeed, the tuna had caught man’s eye thousands of years earlier. A Spanish cave drawing above the Bay of Biscay depicts the fish—one of the few we know to be so honored during the Ice Age. Only 3 percent of the world fish catch in weight, tuna yet constitute one of the sea’s most valuable living resources. Japan and the United States lead in catch of the principal market species, up almost sevenfold since 1948. Fishermen get $1,000 to $3,000 a ton for frozen tuna—the skipjack, yellowfin, albacore, and bigeye you find in cans in the supermarket. In Japan, fresh bluefin can command 10 to 15 times that price. The bluefin frequents both the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Atlantic population spawns in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean and feeds as far north as the Arctic Circle, making it one of the long-distance champions among migratory fish. By the age of 15 a bluefin will have swum an estimated million miles. In fact it moves every minute of its life. Prevent it from swimming and it will soon die from lack of oxygen. Depending on age, each female carries from one million to thirty million eggs. Blue fin spawn fractionally, not releasing all the eggs in one session. The translucent eggs, a millimeter in diameter, float a few feet below the surface. The larvae hatch and grow rapidly, preyed upon by many species including their own. Bluefin reach nine pounds the first year, 640 pounds the 14th, and mature in three to five years. Since 1955, bluefin of all sizes have been tagged in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The returned tags—more than 3,000—indicate migration patterns. Two small bluefin tagged off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 1954 and recaptured in the Bay of Biscay five years later provided the first proof of transatlantic migrations. There have since been at least 50 recorded. Seven giant bluefin tagged in the Straits of Florida have been recaptured in Norwegian waters, lean in contrast to the resident giants, presumably from migrating across the relatively barren mid-Atlantic. The crossing takes two to four months; one tuna averaged 80 miles a day, a current-assisted cruising speed of three knots. To date only six small bluefin tagged in the eastern Atlantic have been recaptured in the west. Conclusion: The Atlantic bluefin population consists of separate eastern and western stocks with a small, variable interchange. The predictability of the bluefin’s marathon migrations between spawning and feeding grounds has threatened its survival. Every year the fish must run a gantlet of fisheries: purse-seine and longline fleets, traps, and pole-and-line and sport fishermen. Today purse seiners account for half the Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin catch. In 1958 the U.S. purse seiner Silver Mink demonstrated that the use of newly developed nylon purse seines in combination with a hydraulic device to haul in the net made catching bluefin off New England commercially feasible. From Cape Cod Bay the fishery expanded southward within a hundred-mile coastal belt to Cape Charles, Virginia. Canadian vessels also began to seine there. When fishing was poor for tropical tuna in the eastern Pacific or eastern Atlantic, superseiners arrived from Puerto Rico as well as the California clipper fleet (formerly pole-and-line vessels), swelling the new fishery to 18 purse seiners by 1963. At St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Capt. Matt Giacalone showed me around the 250-foot Zapata Pathfinder. The streamlined superseiner reminded me of a Greek shipping magnate’s yacht. Sophisticated in equipment—with a satellite navigation system and a helicopter to spot tuna—such a vessel would cost 10 to 15 million dollars today. The carpet pile thickened as we moved from the bridge, through the navigation room, to the captain’s spacious suite with its bar and lounge, king-size bed, and golden bathroom faucets. A 20-man Central American crew also was well accommodated. Considered the elite of the fishing world, superseiner captains and crews are paid according to their catch. A skipper can earn $100,000 to $250,000 a year. One fleet manager told me, “If the captain’s earnings drop below my salary, I fire him.” As a seiner approaches the fishing grounds, the mast man in the crow’s nest sweeps the water with swivel-mounted binoculars. Crewmen ready the seine skiff atop the stacked purse seine at the stern. Some captains claim to have a sixth sense for the presence of tuna; tangible signs are concentrations of birds, whales or porpoises, and floating logs and garbage, which attract fish on which tuna prey. A school is sighted! The helicopter lifts off. From it the captain will direct the setting of the seine. Over the side goes the seine skiff with the end of the net, and the purse seiner encircles the school at full throttle, 17 knots, paying out all 4,000 feet of cork-floated net, extending down about 330 feet. Explosives resound as men throw cherry bombs to prevent fish from escaping during encirclement. The seiner winches in the purse line to close the seine’s bottom and trap the fish, then slowly hauls in the net with the overhead power block. Hoisted with dip nets into a hopper and sent by chutes to below-deck tanks, the catch is immersed in brine and frozen. The Zapata Pathfinder’s 20 wells can refrigerate 1,700 tons of tuna—one and a half times the total annual United States and Canadian bluefin catch before the Silver Mink’s demonstration cruise. Fleet capacity now far exceeds the potential catch, and the fishery has fallen into erratic decline. The older fish have been depleted; one- to three-year-old bluefin predominate in contrast to the three- to six-year-olds prior to 1965. Big Market for Young Tuna Actually, the canneries prefer immature bluefin. Like other long-lived species, blue fin accumulate mercury with age; hence the larger fish generally exceed U.S. and Canadian legal maximums and must be mixed with younger tuna to reduce the mercury concentration, or be used as animal food. But the scarcity of medium bluefin does not augur well for the health of the fish population or the economic viability of the fishery. Similarly, in the Mediterranean, purse seiners caught large numbers of small bluefin less than a year old (60,000 fish in one set off Sicily) prior to 1976. The Italian fleet, centered in the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic Seas, expanded rapidly in the 1970s, and together with the French fleet captured a peak of 13,000 tons of bluefin in 1976. Now their catch is little more than half that figure. Asian longline fleets are another threat to the fragile bluefin population. In one year, 1962, Japanese fishermen set and reset 12 million nautical miles of longline—enough to girdle the globe more than 500 times. Their 400 million baited hooks brought in 400,000 tons of tuna—almost half the world catch. In 1980 the Japanese longline fleet in the Atlantic consisted of 300 vessels; they captured 4,000 tons of bluefin, 24 percent of that year’s Atlantic catch. The longline, developed by the Japanese some 250 years ago, exploits the larger tuna at depths to 500 feet during their oceanic migrations. Fish find the bait rather than men finding the fish, as with purse seining. Starting at dawn, men bait the hooks on drop lines and pay out the surface-floated and flagged longline from the stern while the boat moves at seven or eight knots. On completing the set—as much as 80 miles of line—they begin to haul in at midday, gaffing the fish and gutting the large ones before freezing. The crew will finish around midnight—an exhausting day’s work, particularly as longliners may stay at sea three months at a time. Unlike superseiners, quarters are cramped and Spartan. Tuna’s Taste Long Treasured Trap, or set net, fisheries go back 3,000 years to the Phoenicians, who trapped bluefin near the Strait of Gibraltar. The word almadraba, Moorish for “trap,” came into Spain with the eighth century A.D. conquest. Barrels of salted bluefin from traps granted by the crown fed the family fortune of the Duke of Medina-Sidonia, who led the Spanish Armada. Coins bore tuna images, as still does the Cádiz town hall facade. Nearby, the famous almadraba of Barbate consists of net walls anchored to the seafloor in a hundred feet of water two miles offshore. A pair of leaders, almost two miles long, guides migrating bluefin to four chambers. In the final death chamber, men raise the net floor, aptly termed “red matador,” twice a day. Crews maintain and operate the trap with ten types of vessels, installing it in April and dismantling it in October, a tremendous task. That most productive trap in the Atlantic-Mediterrane an system averaged 18,000 bluefin a year from 1929-1962, and peaked with 43,500 in 1949. But it has since fallen below 2,000. Similarly, the Italian tonnare, a hundred strong at the turn of the century, the best of which could catch 10,000 bluefin a season, were reduced to 30 active tonnare by 1950 with a total catch of only 20,000 fish. Last year the remaining five caught fewer than 500 giants. Publicity, however, has focused on the sport fishery’s decline. Take Nova Scotia, where bluefin, the local “horse mackerel,” were first caught with a dory cod line about 1870. Teams from 19 nations—a who’s who of international sport fishermen—once competed in the annual International Tuna Cup Match, inaugurated in 1937. Then the bluefin departed. Only one was caught in 1975, none the following year. The match has not been held since. Newfoundland’s rod-and-reel fishery, launched in 1956, peaked in 1966 with 388 giants. I first became involved with research on these magnificent beasts during that record season in Conception Bay. Newfoundland’s 1981 catch: three bluefin. Today, North Lake, Prince Edward Island, operating some 50 boats during August and September, proclaims itself Tuna Capital of the World. From 578 giants in 1974 it dropped to a mere 55 fish last year. Since the fleets that harvest the highly migratory tuna operate worldwide, conservation must be international. Concern over their decline led to the founding in 1966 of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The overfished bluefin had sent many warning signals. Among them were reduced catches of all size groups despite increased fishing, more recaptures of tagged bluefin, and a scarcity of new recruits to the medium and giant ranges. In spite of ICCAT’s regulations, recent data reveal a continuing decline: a 63 percent drop-off in the Atlantic bluefin catch from 45,000 tons in 1964 to 16,500 tons in 1980. Last February ICCAT nations agreed to halt bluefin fishing in the western Atlantic for two years, except for a limited annual catch for scientific purposes—to monitor population strength. The United States’ share is 605 tons, Japan’s 305, and Canada’s 250, for a total of 1,160 tons. Short Supply, Insatiable Demand While scientists battle to conserve the bluefin, the market in Japan, where fish account for nearly half the nation’s protein intake, has undergone a far-reaching change. With quality fresh tuna in short supply, catches from home waters declining, and more nations forbidding foreign fleets to fish within 200 miles of their coasts, the Japanese have resorted to purchases and joint ventures abroad. In the fall of 1971 they began to airlift chilled bluefin from Taiwan, Australia, Norway, the United States, and Canada. In 1972 North America exported 216 giants. In 1978 the number topped 3,000. Despite the wholesale price doubling in the past five years, the demand appears insatiable. Last January 1, a 352-pounder sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market for a record wholesale price of $19.35 a pound. Until the advent of Japanese interest in jumbo maguro in the 1970s, the North American giants were primarily a challenge to sport fishermen. Mercury regulations kept them off home markets. But the Japanese accepted the mercury risk and began an enterprise so lucrative that it turned sport fisheries commercial and put “tuna jacking” into the vocabulary. Sportsmen pay $150 a day to charter a tuna boat in Canada, but the catch belongs to the captain. A hooked bluefin is potentially worth $1,000 to $2,000 to him, so woe betide the angler who blunders. A profitable enterprise, but also unpredictable. Bluefin fail to appear in some waters—or refuse the bait. The Japanese buyers are vulnerable too. Since sashimi cannot be stored and released at a rate to ensure maximum wholesale prices, as with frozen or processed products, an unexpected glut can depress the market. A revolutionary answer? Bluefin ranching. St. Margarets Bay, 15 miles west of Halifax, has supported a mackerel-trap fishery for years. Second-run mackerel enter the bay in mid-June, followed as predictably by a major predator, the bluefin tuna—to be caught in the mackerel traps. The Japanese knew of this resource, but those early-run bluefin, without the desired fat that late-run giants accumulate in northern feeding grounds, fetched only a tenth of the price. Then in 1974 Janel Fisheries brought to Nova Scotia waters the feedlot technique familiar to cattlemen. Two huge impoundment nets, suspended by buoys and cork floats and anchored to the seafloor, were placed in 90 feet of water next to one of the mackerel traps. Fifty bluefin were impounded the first year, pursed from that trap or towed in a cage from distant ones. In 1976 nine impoundments were constructed and 300 bluefin fattened for market. The following year the operation doubled to 18 impoundments holding 948 giants, employing a hundred people, and shipping three-quarters of a million pounds of dressed tuna to Japan at a freight rate alone of a dollar a pound. In 1978 530 bluefin were fattened in 23 impoundments. The decline in catch had begun. Last year only 116 tuna were trapped in St. Margarets Bay. Scientists Study Bluefin Behavior Our team from the St. Andrews Biological Station, eager to study the bluefin under confined but relatively natural conditions, began scientific work at St. Margarets Bay in 1975. The ranch owners subsequently installed an additional impoundment specifically for research and invited scientists to undertake a number of projects. We tagged bluefin with external ultrasonic transmitters and fed them others concealed in food fish to monitor water, muscle, and stomach temperatures, swimming depth and speed, and tail beat. Picked up by a hydrophone, the signals went via underwater cable to shore-based receiving, decoding, and recording equipment. We even undertook to weigh a live giant, anesthetized with a harpoon-borne syringe and winched out on a tubular metal stretcher. Knowing the precise weight at the beginning and end of residence at the “Bluefin Motel” would enable us to calculate how efficiently the bluefin processes its food. Giants gain 100 to 200 pounds during their northern feeding migration, most of it in fat. Producing twice as much energy by weight as protein or carbohydrate, fat is the logical fuel for migratory fish, the equivalent of high-octane gasoline. The bluefin’s fuel economy is about twice that of an equivalent-size mammal. Fat also adds to the bluefin’s buoyancy and, sandwiched between layers of connective tissue underlying the skin, acts as a turbulence damper to reduce surface friction. Bluefin eat most vigorously at dawn, midday, and dusk. Impoundment fish, fed to satiation, can consume 8 to 10 percent of their body weight in food daily. General belief had it that bluefin do not feed at night because they rely on vision rather than smell or hearing when closing on prey. My observations showed, however, that bioluminescent plankton can provide sufficient light for night foraging—the prey fish disturb the plankton, which respond by greater light production, a fatal revelation. Bluefin exhibit no pecking order, select mackerel from different food species offered, and complete digestion in about 20 hours. Perhaps they convey well-fed contentment to other tuna. Once “wild” bluefin were observed trying to get into the impoundment. Bluefin tissues were analyzed for mercury and other contaminants, and the sexes were successfully distinguished, in the absence of external characteristics, by hormonal analysis of blood samples. How did we estimate a fish’s age? By microscopic study of growth rings—layers of calcium carbonate laid down at alternating fast (summer) and slow (winter) rates—in vertebrae and in otoliths, small bones in the inner ear. “A Specially Remarkable Species” From such studies and underwater observations emerges a physiological and behavioral profile of our superfish: Sighting food, a bluefin breaks formation and accelerates toward it, powered by rapid beats of the large lunate tail fin, with no waves of flexure passing down its steel-hard body as in most fish. The large flexible first dorsal fin and the paired pectoral and pelvic fins quickly retract into slots to reduce drag at high speed. The smallness of its gas bladder increases vertical mobility, with its pectoral fins acting as hydrofoils to compensate for the negative buoyancy of the fish. Just prior to impact, the retracted fins extend for directional control, the gill covers suddenly open wide, and the prey is sucked in. Ultrasonic telemetry indicates that some water is swallowed with the food rather than going out over the gills, causing a sudden drop in stomach temperature. The bluefin swims with its mouth partly open, relying on ramjet ventilation, unlike slower fish, which rhythmically force water through their gills to remove oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Seawater contains only about 2.5 percent as much oxygen as in the air we breathe. To get the oxygen it needs from the volume of water flowing through its mouth, the bluefin has proportionately one of the largest gill areas of any fish. A unique circulatory system, with an exceptionally muscular heart, large volume of blood, and high concentration of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin, transports the oxygen under high pressure to the tissues. Unlike a vast majority of fish, which are cold-blooded and dissipate heat (a by-product of metabolism) through the gills, the bluefin conserves and regulates heat, enabling it to feed in northern seas as cold as 40°F and to spawn in tropical waters as warm as 85°F. Bluefin muscle temperature of 88°F has been recorded in water less than 50°F. Paired arteries and veins with opposite directions of flow act as heat exchangers and as a thermal barrier to block heat loss. The bluefin’s elevated body temperature speeds up transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and relaxation (muscle power increases threefold with an 18°F rise), digestion and assimilation, compensating for its remarkably small stomach. Indeed, as Pliny the Elder noted 20 centuries ago: “We are dealing with . . . a specially remarkable species.” We’ve felt a sense of urgency about the research program in St. Margarets Bay, a unique but transient opportunity. The bluefin could suddenly shun these waters, and a failing fishery would attract fewer government research funds and fewer scientists. Also, the Japanese are making great strides in “domesticating” the bluefin. A 1978 conference cosponsored by the Japanese at the University of Languedoc in southern France considered bluefin aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the possibility of supplementing wild stocks of bluefin with hatchery-reared fish, much like our salmon enhancement schemes. Restocking the oceans, no less! Spawning fish captured by French and Italian purse seiners and tonnare can be stripped of eggs and milt, as with salmon and trout. Zooplankton from Mediterranean lagoons can provide food for the larvae and juveniles. An assured supply of fertilized eggs to laboratories in interested countries may turn the bluefin’s fortunes. Is the Bluefin’s Future in Captivity? “Once we overcome technical problems of supply of eggs and rearing of larvae, bluefin aquaculture will become more profitable than our long-established yellowtail culture,” Dr. Yutaka Hirasawa told me at the Tokyo University of Fisheries. Yellowtail culture currently contributes 150,000 tons to the Japanese market, raised from 75 million fingerlings. Cultured bluefin convert food into weight more efficiently than the yellowtail and grow five times as fast. They also command a market price even higher than wild fish because of higher fat content. Boarding the “bullet train” from Tokyo, I raced by fields of rice, tea bushes, and ripening persimmons to Shimizu on the shores of Suruga Bay. There longliners crowded the docks, and the freezer carrier Choshu Maru No. 21 was unloading 300 tons of frozen bluefin caught by Spain’s Barbate trap and the Norwegian purse-seine fleet. At the Far Seas Fisheries Research Laboratory, Dr. Shoji Ueyanagi outlined its two major programs of tuna-aquaculture research, which began in 1970: to collect and artificially fertilize eggs from ripe yellowfin tuna and rear the resulting larvae, and to capture young bluefin and develop techniques to rear them in captivity. A breakthrough came when six research installations overwintered bluefin in net cages. One of the most successful programs is run by Kinki University at its Kushimoto and Shirahama Laboratories farther southwest on Honshu. With the director, Dr. Teruo Harada, I inspected five circular floating cages of wire netting 90 feet in diameter, 25 feet deep, anchored offshore in the shelter of an island. Each holds a different age group, 5,000 bluefin in all. Less than half a pound when caught in 1974, and fed twice daily, the bluefin weighed 100 to 150 pounds four years later. Summer growth is particularly rapid, the very small bluefin increasing their weight tenfold in four months. Despite high mortality during capture and transfer to the cages, and the necessity to develop an alternate food since humans consume the abundant fish species in Japan, I am convinced of the ability of Japanese scientists to domesticate the bluefin. Three years ago the fish added their vote of confidence when Dr. Harada’s oldest bluefin, in captivity a record five years, spawned for the first time in captivity. Juveniles from thousands of its fertilized eggs are now being reared—an exciting scientific challenge. For the sake of the bluefin, good luck! rod and line
  • Score: 0

10:08pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

No more magnificent fish swims the world's oceans than the giant bluefin tuna, which can grow to 12 feet (3.7 meters) in length, weigh 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms), and live for 30 years. Once, giant bluefin migrated by the millions throughout the Atlantic Basin and the Mediterranean Sea, their flesh so important to the people of the ancient world that they painted the tuna's likeness on cave walls and minted its image on coins.

The giant, or Atlantic, bluefin possesses another extraordinary attribute, one that may prove to be its undoing: Its buttery belly meat, liberally layered with fat, is considered the finest sushi in the world. Over the past decade, a high-tech armada, often guided by spotter planes, has pursued giant bluefin from one end of the Mediterranean to the other, annually netting tens of thousands of fish, many of them illegally. The bluefin are fattened offshore in sea cages before being shot and butchered for the sushi and steak markets in Japan, America, and Europe. So many giant bluefin have been hauled out of the Mediterranean that the population is in danger of collapse. Meanwhile, European and North African officials have done little to stop the slaughter.

"My big fear is that it may be too late," said Sergi Tudela, a Spanish marine biologist with the World Wildlife Fund, which has led the struggle to rein in the bluefin fishery. "I have a very graphic image in my mind. It is of the migration of so many buffalo in the American West in the early 19th century. It was the same with bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, a migration of a massive number of animals. And now we are witnessing the same phenomenon happening to giant bluefin tuna that we saw happen with America's buffalo. We are witnessing this, right now, right before our eyes."

The decimation of giant bluefin is emblematic of everything wrong with global fisheries today: the vastly increased killing power of new fishing technology, the shadowy network of international companies making huge profits from the trade, negligent fisheries management and enforcement, and consumers' indifference to the fate of the fish they choose to buy.

The world's oceans are a shadow of what they once were. With a few notable exceptions, such as well-managed fisheries in Alaska, Iceland, and New Zealand, the number of fish swimming the seas is a fraction of what it was a century ago. Marine biologists differ on the extent of the decline. Some argue that stocks of many large oceangoing fish have fallen by 80 to 90 percent, while others say the declines have been less steep. But all agree that, in most places, too many boats are chasing too few fish.

Popular species such as cod have plummeted from the North Sea to Georges Bank off New England. In the Mediterranean, 12 species of shark are commercially extinct, and swordfish there, which should grow as thick as a telephone pole, are now caught as juveniles and eaten when no bigger than a baseball bat. With many Northern Hemisphere waters fished out, commercial fleets have steamed south, overexploiting once teeming fishing grounds. Off West Africa, poorly regulated fleets, both local and foreign, are wiping out fish stocks from the productive waters of the continental shelf, depriving subsistence fishermen in Senegal, Ghana, Angola, and other countries of their families' main source of protein. In Asia, so many boats have fished the waters of the Gulf of Thailand and the Java Sea that stocks are close to exhaustion. "The oceans are suffering from a lot of things, but the one that overshadows everything else is fishing," said Joshua S. Reichert of the Pew Charitable Trusts. "And unless we get a handle on the extraction of fish and marine resources, we will lose much of the list that remains in the seas.

"Cruel" may seem a harsh indictment of the age-old profession of fishing—and certainly does not apply to all who practice the trade—but how else to portray the world's shark fishermen, who kill tens of millions of sharks a year, large numbers finned alive for shark-fin soup and allowed to sink to the bottom to die? How else to characterize the incalculable number of fish and other sea creatures scooped up in nets, allowed to suffocate, and dumped overboard as useless bycatch? Or the longline fisheries, whose miles and miles of baited hooks attract—and drown—creatures such as the loggerhead turtle and wandering albatross?

Do we countenance such loss because fish live in a world we cannot see? Would it be different if, as one conservationist fantasized, the fish wailed as we lifted them out of the water in nets? If the giant bluefin lived on land, its size, speed, and epic migrations would ensure its legendary status, with tourists flocking to photograph it in national parks. But because it lives in the sea, its majesty—comparable to that of a lion—lies largely beyond comprehension.

One of the ironies—and tragedies—of the Mediterranean bluefin hunt is that the very act of procreation now puts the fish at the mercy of the fleets. In the spring and summer, as the water warms, schools of bluefin rise to the surface to spawn. Slashing through the sea, planing on their sides and exposing their massive silver-colored flanks, the large females each expel tens of millions of eggs, and the males emit clouds of milt. From the air, on a calm day, this turmoil of reproduction—the flashing fish, the disturbed sea, the slick of spawn and sperm—can be seen from miles away by spotter plans, which call in the fleet.

On a warm July morning, in the sapphire-colored waters west of the Spanish Island of Ibiza, six purse-seine boats from three competing companies searched for giant bluefin tuna. The purse seiners—named for their conical, purse-like nets, which are drawn closed from the bottom—were guided by three spotter aircraft that crisscrossed the sky like vultures.

In the center of the action was Txema Galaz Ugalde, a Basque marine biologist, diver, and fisherman who helps run Ecolofish, one of 69 tuna ranching, or fattening, operations that have sprung up through the Mediterranean. A small company, Ecolofish owns five purse-seiners. Its main rival that morning was the tuna baron of the Mediterranean, Francisco Fuentes of Ricardo Fuentes and Sons, whose industrial scale operations have been chewing up giant bluefin stocks.

I was with Galaz on La Viveta Segunda—a 72-foot (22-meter) support vessel that was part of the fleet of dive boats and cage-towing tugs following the purse seiners. Around 11 a.m., the spotter planes spied a school, setting the purse seiners on a 19-knot dash. The stakes were high. Even a small school of 200 bluefin can fetch more than half a million dollars on the Japanese market. Galaz watched through binoculars as an Ecolofish seiner reached the school first and began encircling it with a mile-long net.

"He's fishing!" Galaz shouted. "He's shooting the net!"

It was not an unalloyed victory. Before Ecolofish's boat could complete its circle, a Fuentes seiner rushed forward and stopped just short of the unfurling net. Under one of the few rules that exist in the free-for-all for Mediterranean bluefin, this symbolic touch entitled the competing boat to split the catch fifty-fifty.

Over the next several hours, Galaz and his divers transferred the fish—163 bluefin, averaging about 300 pounds (135 kilograms)—from the purse-seine net into the sea cage, a large holding pen about 160 feet (50 meters) in diameter, with a sturdy plastic frame supporting a heavy mesh net. As the pen, already brimming with a thousand bluefish caught in the days before, was aligned with the purse-seine net, Galaz invited me into the water.

Swimming with the tuna was mesmerizing but unsettling. Giant bluefin are, as Galaz put it, "like missiles, prepared for speed and power." Their backs were battleship gray topped with a saw-toothed line of small yellow dorsal fins. Their sides had the look of battered chrome and steel; some bore the streak of an electric blue line. The larger fish, weighing more than 500 pounds (225 kilograms), were at least eight feet long (2.4 meters).

One giant bluefin—some 300 pounds (135 kilograms) heavier and two feet (.6 meter) longer than most of the others—caught my eye. It was not swimming endlessly with the school in a clockwise gyre. Instead, it darted in different directions, sullen and aggressive, nearly brushing against me as it scanned me with large, black, disk-shaped eyes. There was something else: a stainless-steel hook embedded in its mouth, trailing a long strand of monofilament line. In recent weeks, this fish had lunged at one of the thousands of baited hooks set by a longline vessel. Somehow, it had broken free.

After untying the large mesh gates on the pen, Galaz and his divers began herding fish. Peeling off from their gyre, the bluefin whizzed into the cage like torpedoes. The fish with the hook in its mouth was one of the last to leave, but eventually it shot up from the depths and into the cage, dragging a diver who had hitched a ride on the line.

Ecolofish's catch was part of an annual legal take of 32,000 tons (29,000 metric tons) in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic. The true quantity, however, is closer to between 50,000 and 60,000 tons (45,000 and 55,000 metric tons). The group charged with managing bluefin tuna stocks, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), has acknowledged that the fleet has been violating quotas egregiously. Scientists estimate that if fishing continues at current levels, stocks are bound to collapse. But despite strong warnings from its own biologists, ICCAT—with 43 member states—refused to reduce quotas significantly last November, over the objections of delegations from the U.S., Canada, and a handful of other nations. Because bluefin sometimes migrate across the Atlantic, American scientists, and bluefin fisherman who abide by small quotas off their coasts, have long been calling for a large reduction in the Mediterranean catch.

"The Mediterranean is at the point that if bluefin stocks are not actually collapsing, they are approaching collapse," said William T. Hogarth, ICCAT's recently appointed chairman who also serves as director of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. "I was really disappointed—when it got to the bluefin, science just seemed to go out the window. The bottom line was that, as chairman, I felt I was sort of presiding over the demise of one of the most magnificent fish that swims the ocean."

The story of giant bluefin tuna began with unfathomable abundance, as they surged through the Straits of Gibraltar each spring, fanning out across the Mediterranean to spawn. Over millennia, fisherman devised a method of extending nets from shore to intercept the fish and funnel them into chambers, where they were slaughtered. By the mid-1800s, a hundred tuna traps—known as tonnara in Italy and almadraba in Spain—harvested up to 15,000 tons (13,600 metric tons) of bluefin annually. The fishery was sustainable, supporting thousands of workers and their families.

Today, all but a dozen or so of the trap fisheries have closed, primarily for lack of fish but also because of coastal development and pollution. One of the few that remains is the renowned tonnara on the island of Favignana off Sicily. In 1864, Favignana's fishermen took a record 14,020 bluefin, averaging 425 pounds (195 kilograms). Last year, so few fish were caught—about 100, averaging 65 pounds (30 kilograms)—that Favignana held only one mattanza, which occurs when the tuna are channeled into a netted chamber and lifted to the surface by fishermen who kill them with gaffs. One sign of the Favignana tonnara's diminishment is that it is run by a Rome marketing executive, Chiara Zarlocco, whose plan for the future is to dress the fishermen in historic costumes as they reenact the mattanza.

The big trouble for Atlantic bluefin began in the mid-1990s. By then, stocks of southern bluefin tuna—which, along with Pacific bluefin and Atlantic bluefin, compose the world's three bluefin species, all treasured for sushi—had been fished to between 6 and 12 percent of the original numbers in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. As the Japanese searched for new sources, they turned to the Mediterranean, where bluefin reserves were still large.

In 1996, Croatians who had developed techniques for fattening southern bluefin in Australia established the first Mediterranean tuna ranch, in the Adriatic. The process is simple. Newly caught bluefin are transferred to coastal sea cages where—for months, even years—they are fed oily fish such as anchovies or sardines to give their flesh the high fat content so prized in Japan.

The prospect of producing a steady—and highly profitable—supply of fatty Mediterranean bluefin set off a cascade of events that has proved disastrous. The Mediterranean fleet has increased its fishing effort threefold, with the bluefin flotilla now totaling 1,700 vessels, including 314 purse seiners. Compounding the problem, the advent of tuna ranching made it difficult for the European Union and national governments to enforce quotas. Bluefin are netted at sea, fattened offshore, killed offshore, and flash-frozen on Japanese ships. As Masanori Miyahara of the Fisheries Agency of Japan, and a former ICCAT chairman, told me: "It's kind of a black box."

The spread of tuna ranching means that bluefin are being wiped out at all stages of their life cycle. In Croatia, for instance, the industry is based almost entirely on fattening juveniles for two to three years, which means fish are killed before they spawn. Elsewhere, in places such as the Balearic Islands, large females, capable of producing 40 million eggs, are being wiped out. In just ten years, bluefin populations have been driven down sharply.

"What's happening is a bit like what happened to cod," said Jean-Marc Fromentin, a marine biologist and bluefin expert with IFREMER, the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Seas. "You don't see the decrease right away because you have had a huge accumulation of biomass. But it's like having a bank account, and you keep taking much more out than you're putting in."

At the heart of the fishing activity is Francisco Fuentes and his Cartegena-based company, Ricardo Fuentes & Sons, which, according to industry experts, controls 60 percent of the giant bluefin ranching business in the Mediterranean, generating revenues of more than 220 million dollars a year, according to industry sources. (A Fuentes spokesman said revenues are roughly half that.) In partnership with the Japanese giants Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and Maruha, the Fuentes Group—with the help of EU and Spanish subsidies—has bought sea cages, tugs, and support boats needed for large-scale fattening operations. Fuentes & Sons also formed partnerships with French and Spanish companies that owned 20 purse seiners—five-milli
on-dollar vessels equipped with powerful sonar systems and nets that can encircle 3,000 adult bluefin.

With the Fuentes Group and its partners leading the way, the bluefin fleet methodically targets fish in the spawning grounds close to Europe, then turned its attention to untouched areas. The richest of these de facto reserves was Libya's Gulf of Sidra. "It was the tuna aquarium of the Mediterranean," recalled Roberto Mielgo Bregazzi, a tuna ranching consultant who first visited the Gulf of Sidra six years ago. "I've never seen anything like it. The average size of bluefin was over 600 pounds (270 kilograms). It was one of the last tuna Shangri-Las."

Mielgo Bregazzi, a dapper Spaniard and former professional diver who heads Advanced Tuna Ranching Technologies, has been on a mission to expose IUU—illegal, unreported, and unregulated—bluefi
n fishing. Drawing on a wide network of inside sources, as well as published information, he was written lengthy reports detailing the IUU bluefin business. Using arcane data such as the capacity and schedules of Japanese freezer vessels, he has shown that the Mediterranean tuna fleet has been seizing almost double its annual legal quota.

Mielgo Bregazzi said Ricardo Fuentes & Sons and a French partner have worked with a Libyan company, Ras el Hillal, to catch giant bluefin in Libyan waters. Mielgo Bregazzi said that Seif al Islam Qaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammer Qaddafi, has a financial interest in Ras el Hillal and has earned millions of dollars from the bluefin fishery. Mielgo Bregazzi calculates that, for the past four years, bluefin fleets netted more than 10,000 tons (9,000 metric tons) of bluefin annually in Libyan waters. Some of the catch is legal under quotas for Libyan, Spanish, and French boats, but much of it appears to be caught illegally.

David Martinez Cañabate, assistant manager of the Fuentes Group, said the company has "absolutely" no connection to the Qaddafi family and that all bluefin tuna it catches, buys, or ranches have been legally caught and properly documented with ICCAT and Spanish authorities. He conceded that bluefin have been overfished, mainly by companies that do not ranch tuna but sell the fish soon after netting them. Fleets from other countries also catch bluefin without an ICCA quota and ranch them illegally, Martinez said. He said much of Mielgo Bregazzi's information is "incorrect or, worse, bad intentioned" and that the Fuentes group has supported stricter conservation measures. "We are more interested than anyone in the future of the tuna," Martinez said. "We live off this resource."

Actually, Libyan and other Mediterranean bluefin have so flooded the market that Japanese companies have stockpiled 20,000 tons (18,000 metric tons) in giant freezers. The glut halved prices for fishermen in the past few years, to between three and four dollars a pound. Still, the value of the bluefin caught annually in Libya, then fattened for several months, is roughly 400 million dollars on the Japanese market.

"They're slaughtering everything," Mielgo Bregazzi said. "The fish don't stand a chance."

The extent to which giant bluefin fleets flout regulations became evident during a visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily. To give the tuna a reprieve during peak spawning season, EU and ICCAT rules prohibit spotter aircraft from flying in June. The regulation is often ignored.

I flew one June morning with Eduardo Domaniewicz, an Argentine-American pilot who has spotted for tuna for French and Italian purse seiners since 2003. Riding shotgun was Domaniewicz's spotter, Alfonso Consiglio. They were combing the waters between Lampedusa and Tunisia, and they were not alone: Three other spotter aircraft were prowling illegally, relaying tuna sightings to some of the 20 purse seiners in the water below. (After two hours, high winds and choppy seas, which make it difficult both to see and net the first, forced the planes to return to Lampedusa and Malta.

Domaniewicz was conflicted. He loved to fly and was well paid. He believed his June flights were legal, because Italy never agreed to the ban. But after three years of spotting for the bluefin fleet, he was fed up with the uncontrolled fishing. Just before I arrived on Lampedusa, he had watched two purse-seine fleets net 835,000 pounds (380,000 kilograms) of bluefin, sharing more than two million dollars.

"There is no way for the fish to escape—everything is high-tech," Domaniewicz said. Speaking of the French purse-seine fishermen he worked for in Libya, he said, "I am an environmentalist, and I couldn't stand the way they fished with no care for the quotas. I saw these people taking everything. They catch whatever they want. They just see money on the sea. They don't think what will be there in ten years."

Alfonso Consiglio, whose family owns a fleet of purse seiners, also is torn. "The price is cheap because more and more tuna are being caught," he said. "My only weapon is to catch more fish. It's a vicious circle. If I catch my quota of a thousand tuna, I can't live because the price is very cheap. I want to respect the quota, but I can't because I need to live. If boats of all countries respect the rules, tuna will not be fished. If only few countries respect the rules, and others don't respect the rules, the fisherman who respects rules is finished."

How can this endless cycle of overfishing be stopped? How can the world's fleets be prevented from committing ecological and economic suicide by depleting the oceans of bluefish tuna, shark, cod, haddock, sea bass, hake, red snapper, orange roughy, grouper, grenadier, sturgeon, plaice, rockfish, skate, and other species?

Experts agree that, first, the world's oceans must be managed as ecosystems, not simply as larders from which the fishing industry can extract protein at will. Second, the management councils that oversee fisheries, such as ICCAT, long dominated by commercial fishing interests, must share power with scientists and conservationists.

Further, governments must cut back the world's four million fishing vessels—nearly double what is needed to fish the ocean sustainably—and slash the estimated 25 billion dollars in government subsidies bestowed annually on the fishing industry.

In addition, fisheries agencies will have to set tough quotas and enforce them. For giant bluefin in the Mediterranean, that may mean shutting down the fishery during the spawning season and substantially increasing the minimum catch weight. ICCAT recently failed to decrease quotas significantly or close the fishery at peaks spawn, although it did to increase the minimum catch weight in most areas to 66 pounds (30 kilograms) and ban spotter aircraft. But without inspection and enforcement, the commission's new rules will, like the old ones, mean little.

Another crucial step, both in the Mediterranean and around the world, would be the creation of large marine protected areas. Also important are campaigns by such groups as the Marine Stewardship Council, which is working with consumers as well as retail giants to promote trade in sustainably caught fish.

The news from the fisheries front is not unremittingly grim. Indeed, where sound fisheries management exists, fish populations—and the fishing industry—are healthy. A prime example is Alaska, where stocks of Pacific salmon and pollock are bountiful. Iceland's cod fishery is thriving, because it, too, follows a cardinal conservation rule: Limit the number of boats that can pursue fish.

But all agree that the fundamental reform that must precede all others is not a change in regulations but a change in people's minds. The world must begin viewing the creatures that inhabit the sea much as it looks at wildlife on land. Only when fish are seen as wild things deserving of protection, only when the Mediterranean bluefin is thought to be as magnificent as the Alaska grizzly or the African leopard, will depletion of the world's oceans come to an end.
No more magnificent fish swims the world's oceans than the giant bluefin tuna, which can grow to 12 feet (3.7 meters) in length, weigh 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms), and live for 30 years. Once, giant bluefin migrated by the millions throughout the Atlantic Basin and the Mediterranean Sea, their flesh so important to the people of the ancient world that they painted the tuna's likeness on cave walls and minted its image on coins. The giant, or Atlantic, bluefin possesses another extraordinary attribute, one that may prove to be its undoing: Its buttery belly meat, liberally layered with fat, is considered the finest sushi in the world. Over the past decade, a high-tech armada, often guided by spotter planes, has pursued giant bluefin from one end of the Mediterranean to the other, annually netting tens of thousands of fish, many of them illegally. The bluefin are fattened offshore in sea cages before being shot and butchered for the sushi and steak markets in Japan, America, and Europe. So many giant bluefin have been hauled out of the Mediterranean that the population is in danger of collapse. Meanwhile, European and North African officials have done little to stop the slaughter. "My big fear is that it may be too late," said Sergi Tudela, a Spanish marine biologist with the World Wildlife Fund, which has led the struggle to rein in the bluefin fishery. "I have a very graphic image in my mind. It is of the migration of so many buffalo in the American West in the early 19th century. It was the same with bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, a migration of a massive number of animals. And now we are witnessing the same phenomenon happening to giant bluefin tuna that we saw happen with America's buffalo. We are witnessing this, right now, right before our eyes." The decimation of giant bluefin is emblematic of everything wrong with global fisheries today: the vastly increased killing power of new fishing technology, the shadowy network of international companies making huge profits from the trade, negligent fisheries management and enforcement, and consumers' indifference to the fate of the fish they choose to buy. The world's oceans are a shadow of what they once were. With a few notable exceptions, such as well-managed fisheries in Alaska, Iceland, and New Zealand, the number of fish swimming the seas is a fraction of what it was a century ago. Marine biologists differ on the extent of the decline. Some argue that stocks of many large oceangoing fish have fallen by 80 to 90 percent, while others say the declines have been less steep. But all agree that, in most places, too many boats are chasing too few fish. Popular species such as cod have plummeted from the North Sea to Georges Bank off New England. In the Mediterranean, 12 species of shark are commercially extinct, and swordfish there, which should grow as thick as a telephone pole, are now caught as juveniles and eaten when no bigger than a baseball bat. With many Northern Hemisphere waters fished out, commercial fleets have steamed south, overexploiting once teeming fishing grounds. Off West Africa, poorly regulated fleets, both local and foreign, are wiping out fish stocks from the productive waters of the continental shelf, depriving subsistence fishermen in Senegal, Ghana, Angola, and other countries of their families' main source of protein. In Asia, so many boats have fished the waters of the Gulf of Thailand and the Java Sea that stocks are close to exhaustion. "The oceans are suffering from a lot of things, but the one that overshadows everything else is fishing," said Joshua S. Reichert of the Pew Charitable Trusts. "And unless we get a handle on the extraction of fish and marine resources, we will lose much of the list that remains in the seas. "Cruel" may seem a harsh indictment of the age-old profession of fishing—and certainly does not apply to all who practice the trade—but how else to portray the world's shark fishermen, who kill tens of millions of sharks a year, large numbers finned alive for shark-fin soup and allowed to sink to the bottom to die? How else to characterize the incalculable number of fish and other sea creatures scooped up in nets, allowed to suffocate, and dumped overboard as useless bycatch? Or the longline fisheries, whose miles and miles of baited hooks attract—and drown—creatures such as the loggerhead turtle and wandering albatross? Do we countenance such loss because fish live in a world we cannot see? Would it be different if, as one conservationist fantasized, the fish wailed as we lifted them out of the water in nets? If the giant bluefin lived on land, its size, speed, and epic migrations would ensure its legendary status, with tourists flocking to photograph it in national parks. But because it lives in the sea, its majesty—comparable to that of a lion—lies largely beyond comprehension. One of the ironies—and tragedies—of the Mediterranean bluefin hunt is that the very act of procreation now puts the fish at the mercy of the fleets. In the spring and summer, as the water warms, schools of bluefin rise to the surface to spawn. Slashing through the sea, planing on their sides and exposing their massive silver-colored flanks, the large females each expel tens of millions of eggs, and the males emit clouds of milt. From the air, on a calm day, this turmoil of reproduction—the flashing fish, the disturbed sea, the slick of spawn and sperm—can be seen from miles away by spotter plans, which call in the fleet. On a warm July morning, in the sapphire-colored waters west of the Spanish Island of Ibiza, six purse-seine boats from three competing companies searched for giant bluefin tuna. The purse seiners—named for their conical, purse-like nets, which are drawn closed from the bottom—were guided by three spotter aircraft that crisscrossed the sky like vultures. In the center of the action was Txema Galaz Ugalde, a Basque marine biologist, diver, and fisherman who helps run Ecolofish, one of 69 tuna ranching, or fattening, operations that have sprung up through the Mediterranean. A small company, Ecolofish owns five purse-seiners. Its main rival that morning was the tuna baron of the Mediterranean, Francisco Fuentes of Ricardo Fuentes and Sons, whose industrial scale operations have been chewing up giant bluefin stocks. I was with Galaz on La Viveta Segunda—a 72-foot (22-meter) support vessel that was part of the fleet of dive boats and cage-towing tugs following the purse seiners. Around 11 a.m., the spotter planes spied a school, setting the purse seiners on a 19-knot dash. The stakes were high. Even a small school of 200 bluefin can fetch more than half a million dollars on the Japanese market. Galaz watched through binoculars as an Ecolofish seiner reached the school first and began encircling it with a mile-long net. "He's fishing!" Galaz shouted. "He's shooting the net!" It was not an unalloyed victory. Before Ecolofish's boat could complete its circle, a Fuentes seiner rushed forward and stopped just short of the unfurling net. Under one of the few rules that exist in the free-for-all for Mediterranean bluefin, this symbolic touch entitled the competing boat to split the catch fifty-fifty. Over the next several hours, Galaz and his divers transferred the fish—163 bluefin, averaging about 300 pounds (135 kilograms)—from the purse-seine net into the sea cage, a large holding pen about 160 feet (50 meters) in diameter, with a sturdy plastic frame supporting a heavy mesh net. As the pen, already brimming with a thousand bluefish caught in the days before, was aligned with the purse-seine net, Galaz invited me into the water. Swimming with the tuna was mesmerizing but unsettling. Giant bluefin are, as Galaz put it, "like missiles, prepared for speed and power." Their backs were battleship gray topped with a saw-toothed line of small yellow dorsal fins. Their sides had the look of battered chrome and steel; some bore the streak of an electric blue line. The larger fish, weighing more than 500 pounds (225 kilograms), were at least eight feet long (2.4 meters). One giant bluefin—some 300 pounds (135 kilograms) heavier and two feet (.6 meter) longer than most of the others—caught my eye. It was not swimming endlessly with the school in a clockwise gyre. Instead, it darted in different directions, sullen and aggressive, nearly brushing against me as it scanned me with large, black, disk-shaped eyes. There was something else: a stainless-steel hook embedded in its mouth, trailing a long strand of monofilament line. In recent weeks, this fish had lunged at one of the thousands of baited hooks set by a longline vessel. Somehow, it had broken free. After untying the large mesh gates on the pen, Galaz and his divers began herding fish. Peeling off from their gyre, the bluefin whizzed into the cage like torpedoes. The fish with the hook in its mouth was one of the last to leave, but eventually it shot up from the depths and into the cage, dragging a diver who had hitched a ride on the line. Ecolofish's catch was part of an annual legal take of 32,000 tons (29,000 metric tons) in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic. The true quantity, however, is closer to between 50,000 and 60,000 tons (45,000 and 55,000 metric tons). The group charged with managing bluefin tuna stocks, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), has acknowledged that the fleet has been violating quotas egregiously. Scientists estimate that if fishing continues at current levels, stocks are bound to collapse. But despite strong warnings from its own biologists, ICCAT—with 43 member states—refused to reduce quotas significantly last November, over the objections of delegations from the U.S., Canada, and a handful of other nations. Because bluefin sometimes migrate across the Atlantic, American scientists, and bluefin fisherman who abide by small quotas off their coasts, have long been calling for a large reduction in the Mediterranean catch. "The Mediterranean is at the point that if bluefin stocks are not actually collapsing, they are approaching collapse," said William T. Hogarth, ICCAT's recently appointed chairman who also serves as director of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. "I was really disappointed—when it got to the bluefin, science just seemed to go out the window. The bottom line was that, as chairman, I felt I was sort of presiding over the demise of one of the most magnificent fish that swims the ocean." The story of giant bluefin tuna began with unfathomable abundance, as they surged through the Straits of Gibraltar each spring, fanning out across the Mediterranean to spawn. Over millennia, fisherman devised a method of extending nets from shore to intercept the fish and funnel them into chambers, where they were slaughtered. By the mid-1800s, a hundred tuna traps—known as tonnara in Italy and almadraba in Spain—harvested up to 15,000 tons (13,600 metric tons) of bluefin annually. The fishery was sustainable, supporting thousands of workers and their families. Today, all but a dozen or so of the trap fisheries have closed, primarily for lack of fish but also because of coastal development and pollution. One of the few that remains is the renowned tonnara on the island of Favignana off Sicily. In 1864, Favignana's fishermen took a record 14,020 bluefin, averaging 425 pounds (195 kilograms). Last year, so few fish were caught—about 100, averaging 65 pounds (30 kilograms)—that Favignana held only one mattanza, which occurs when the tuna are channeled into a netted chamber and lifted to the surface by fishermen who kill them with gaffs. One sign of the Favignana tonnara's diminishment is that it is run by a Rome marketing executive, Chiara Zarlocco, whose plan for the future is to dress the fishermen in historic costumes as they reenact the mattanza. The big trouble for Atlantic bluefin began in the mid-1990s. By then, stocks of southern bluefin tuna—which, along with Pacific bluefin and Atlantic bluefin, compose the world's three bluefin species, all treasured for sushi—had been fished to between 6 and 12 percent of the original numbers in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. As the Japanese searched for new sources, they turned to the Mediterranean, where bluefin reserves were still large. In 1996, Croatians who had developed techniques for fattening southern bluefin in Australia established the first Mediterranean tuna ranch, in the Adriatic. The process is simple. Newly caught bluefin are transferred to coastal sea cages where—for months, even years—they are fed oily fish such as anchovies or sardines to give their flesh the high fat content so prized in Japan. The prospect of producing a steady—and highly profitable—supply of fatty Mediterranean bluefin set off a cascade of events that has proved disastrous. The Mediterranean fleet has increased its fishing effort threefold, with the bluefin flotilla now totaling 1,700 vessels, including 314 purse seiners. Compounding the problem, the advent of tuna ranching made it difficult for the European Union and national governments to enforce quotas. Bluefin are netted at sea, fattened offshore, killed offshore, and flash-frozen on Japanese ships. As Masanori Miyahara of the Fisheries Agency of Japan, and a former ICCAT chairman, told me: "It's kind of a black box." The spread of tuna ranching means that bluefin are being wiped out at all stages of their life cycle. In Croatia, for instance, the industry is based almost entirely on fattening juveniles for two to three years, which means fish are killed before they spawn. Elsewhere, in places such as the Balearic Islands, large females, capable of producing 40 million eggs, are being wiped out. In just ten years, bluefin populations have been driven down sharply. "What's happening is a bit like what happened to cod," said Jean-Marc Fromentin, a marine biologist and bluefin expert with IFREMER, the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Seas. "You don't see the decrease right away because you have had a huge accumulation of biomass. But it's like having a bank account, and you keep taking much more out than you're putting in." At the heart of the fishing activity is Francisco Fuentes and his Cartegena-based company, Ricardo Fuentes & Sons, which, according to industry experts, controls 60 percent of the giant bluefin ranching business in the Mediterranean, generating revenues of more than 220 million dollars a year, according to industry sources. (A Fuentes spokesman said revenues are roughly half that.) In partnership with the Japanese giants Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and Maruha, the Fuentes Group—with the help of EU and Spanish subsidies—has bought sea cages, tugs, and support boats needed for large-scale fattening operations. Fuentes & Sons also formed partnerships with French and Spanish companies that owned 20 purse seiners—five-milli on-dollar vessels equipped with powerful sonar systems and nets that can encircle 3,000 adult bluefin. With the Fuentes Group and its partners leading the way, the bluefin fleet methodically targets fish in the spawning grounds close to Europe, then turned its attention to untouched areas. The richest of these de facto reserves was Libya's Gulf of Sidra. "It was the tuna aquarium of the Mediterranean," recalled Roberto Mielgo Bregazzi, a tuna ranching consultant who first visited the Gulf of Sidra six years ago. "I've never seen anything like it. The average size of bluefin was over 600 pounds (270 kilograms). It was one of the last tuna Shangri-Las." Mielgo Bregazzi, a dapper Spaniard and former professional diver who heads Advanced Tuna Ranching Technologies, has been on a mission to expose IUU—illegal, unreported, and unregulated—bluefi n fishing. Drawing on a wide network of inside sources, as well as published information, he was written lengthy reports detailing the IUU bluefin business. Using arcane data such as the capacity and schedules of Japanese freezer vessels, he has shown that the Mediterranean tuna fleet has been seizing almost double its annual legal quota. Mielgo Bregazzi said Ricardo Fuentes & Sons and a French partner have worked with a Libyan company, Ras el Hillal, to catch giant bluefin in Libyan waters. Mielgo Bregazzi said that Seif al Islam Qaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammer Qaddafi, has a financial interest in Ras el Hillal and has earned millions of dollars from the bluefin fishery. Mielgo Bregazzi calculates that, for the past four years, bluefin fleets netted more than 10,000 tons (9,000 metric tons) of bluefin annually in Libyan waters. Some of the catch is legal under quotas for Libyan, Spanish, and French boats, but much of it appears to be caught illegally. David Martinez Cañabate, assistant manager of the Fuentes Group, said the company has "absolutely" no connection to the Qaddafi family and that all bluefin tuna it catches, buys, or ranches have been legally caught and properly documented with ICCAT and Spanish authorities. He conceded that bluefin have been overfished, mainly by companies that do not ranch tuna but sell the fish soon after netting them. Fleets from other countries also catch bluefin without an ICCA quota and ranch them illegally, Martinez said. He said much of Mielgo Bregazzi's information is "incorrect or, worse, bad intentioned" and that the Fuentes group has supported stricter conservation measures. "We are more interested than anyone in the future of the tuna," Martinez said. "We live off this resource." Actually, Libyan and other Mediterranean bluefin have so flooded the market that Japanese companies have stockpiled 20,000 tons (18,000 metric tons) in giant freezers. The glut halved prices for fishermen in the past few years, to between three and four dollars a pound. Still, the value of the bluefin caught annually in Libya, then fattened for several months, is roughly 400 million dollars on the Japanese market. "They're slaughtering everything," Mielgo Bregazzi said. "The fish don't stand a chance." The extent to which giant bluefin fleets flout regulations became evident during a visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily. To give the tuna a reprieve during peak spawning season, EU and ICCAT rules prohibit spotter aircraft from flying in June. The regulation is often ignored. I flew one June morning with Eduardo Domaniewicz, an Argentine-American pilot who has spotted for tuna for French and Italian purse seiners since 2003. Riding shotgun was Domaniewicz's spotter, Alfonso Consiglio. They were combing the waters between Lampedusa and Tunisia, and they were not alone: Three other spotter aircraft were prowling illegally, relaying tuna sightings to some of the 20 purse seiners in the water below. (After two hours, high winds and choppy seas, which make it difficult both to see and net the first, forced the planes to return to Lampedusa and Malta. Domaniewicz was conflicted. He loved to fly and was well paid. He believed his June flights were legal, because Italy never agreed to the ban. But after three years of spotting for the bluefin fleet, he was fed up with the uncontrolled fishing. Just before I arrived on Lampedusa, he had watched two purse-seine fleets net 835,000 pounds (380,000 kilograms) of bluefin, sharing more than two million dollars. "There is no way for the fish to escape—everything is high-tech," Domaniewicz said. Speaking of the French purse-seine fishermen he worked for in Libya, he said, "I am an environmentalist, and I couldn't stand the way they fished with no care for the quotas. I saw these people taking everything. They catch whatever they want. They just see money on the sea. They don't think what will be there in ten years." Alfonso Consiglio, whose family owns a fleet of purse seiners, also is torn. "The price is cheap because more and more tuna are being caught," he said. "My only weapon is to catch more fish. It's a vicious circle. If I catch my quota of a thousand tuna, I can't live because the price is very cheap. I want to respect the quota, but I can't because I need to live. If boats of all countries respect the rules, tuna will not be fished. If only few countries respect the rules, and others don't respect the rules, the fisherman who respects rules is finished." How can this endless cycle of overfishing be stopped? How can the world's fleets be prevented from committing ecological and economic suicide by depleting the oceans of bluefish tuna, shark, cod, haddock, sea bass, hake, red snapper, orange roughy, grouper, grenadier, sturgeon, plaice, rockfish, skate, and other species? Experts agree that, first, the world's oceans must be managed as ecosystems, not simply as larders from which the fishing industry can extract protein at will. Second, the management councils that oversee fisheries, such as ICCAT, long dominated by commercial fishing interests, must share power with scientists and conservationists. Further, governments must cut back the world's four million fishing vessels—nearly double what is needed to fish the ocean sustainably—and slash the estimated 25 billion dollars in government subsidies bestowed annually on the fishing industry. In addition, fisheries agencies will have to set tough quotas and enforce them. For giant bluefin in the Mediterranean, that may mean shutting down the fishery during the spawning season and substantially increasing the minimum catch weight. ICCAT recently failed to decrease quotas significantly or close the fishery at peaks spawn, although it did to increase the minimum catch weight in most areas to 66 pounds (30 kilograms) and ban spotter aircraft. But without inspection and enforcement, the commission's new rules will, like the old ones, mean little. Another crucial step, both in the Mediterranean and around the world, would be the creation of large marine protected areas. Also important are campaigns by such groups as the Marine Stewardship Council, which is working with consumers as well as retail giants to promote trade in sustainably caught fish. The news from the fisheries front is not unremittingly grim. Indeed, where sound fisheries management exists, fish populations—and the fishing industry—are healthy. A prime example is Alaska, where stocks of Pacific salmon and pollock are bountiful. Iceland's cod fishery is thriving, because it, too, follows a cardinal conservation rule: Limit the number of boats that can pursue fish. But all agree that the fundamental reform that must precede all others is not a change in regulations but a change in people's minds. The world must begin viewing the creatures that inhabit the sea much as it looks at wildlife on land. Only when fish are seen as wild things deserving of protection, only when the Mediterranean bluefin is thought to be as magnificent as the Alaska grizzly or the African leopard, will depletion of the world's oceans come to an end. rod and line
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10:11pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

Just before dawn a seafood summit convenes near Honolulu Harbor. As two dozen or so buyers enter the United Fishing Agency warehouse, they don winter parkas over their aloha shirts to blunt the chill of the refrigeration. They flip open their cell phones, dial their clients in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Honolulu—wherever expensive fish are eaten—and wait.

Soon the big freight doors on the seaward side of the warehouse slide open, and a parade of marine carcasses on pallets begins. Tuna as big around as wagon wheels. Spearfish and swordfish, their bills sawed off, their bodies lined up like dull gray I beams. Thick-lipped opah with eyes the size of hockey pucks rimmed with gold. They all take their places in the hall.

Auctioneers drill core samples from the fish and lay the ribbons of flesh on the lifeless white bellies. Buyers finger these samples, trying to divine quality from color, clarity, texture, and fat content. As instructions come in over cell phones, bids are conveyed to the auctioneer through mysterious hand gestures. Little sheets of paper with indecipherable scribbling are slapped on a fish’s flank when a sale is finalized. One by one fish are auctioned and sold to the highest bidder. In this way the marine wealth of the north-central Pacific is divided up among some of the world’s most affluent purchasers.

Every year more than 170 billion pounds (77.9 million metric tons) of wild fish and shellfish are caught in the oceans—roughly three times the weight of every man, woman, and child in the United States. Fisheries managers call this overwhelming quantity of mass-hunted wildlife the world catch, and many maintain that this harvest has been relatively stable over the past decade. But an ongoing study conducted by Daniel Pauly, a fisheries scientist at the University of British Columbia, in conjunction with Enric Sala, a National Geographic fellow, suggests that the world catch is neither stable nor fairly divided among the nations of the world. In the study, called SeafoodPrint and supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts and National Geographic, the researchers point the way to what they believe must be done to save the seas.

They hope the study will start by correcting a common misperception. The public imagines a nation’s impact on the sea in terms of the raw ton¬nage of fish it catches. But that turns out to give a skewed picture of its real impact, or seafood print, on marine life. “The problem is, every fish is different,” says Pauly. “A pound of tuna represents roughly a hundred times the footprint of a pound of sardines.”

The reason for this discrepancy is that tuna are apex predators, meaning that they feed at the very top of the food chain. The largest tuna eat enormous amounts of fish, including intermediate-level predators like mackerel, which in turn feed on fish like anchovies, which prey on microscopic copepods. A large tuna must eat the equivalent of its body weight every ten days to stay alive, so a single thousand-pound tuna might need to eat as many as 15,000 smaller fish in a year. Such food chains are present throughout the world’s ocean ecosystems, each with its own apex animal. Any large fish—a Pacific swordfish, an Atlantic mako shark, an Alaska king salmon, a Chilean sea bass—is likely to depend on several levels of a food chain.

To gain an accurate picture of how different nations have been using the resources of the sea, the SeafoodPrint researchers needed a way to compare all types of fish caught. They decided to do this by measuring the amount of “primary production”—thos
e microscopic organisms at the bottom of the marine food web—required to make a pound of a given type of fish. They found that a pound of bluefin tuna, for example, might require a thousand pounds or more of primary production.

In assessing the true impact that nations have on the seas, the team needed to look not just at what a given nation caught but also at what the citizens of that nation ate. “A country can acquire primary production by fishing, or it can acquire it by trade,” Pauly says. “It is the sheer power of wealthy nations to acquire primary production that is important.”

Nations with money tend to buy a lot of fish, and a lot of the fish they buy are large apex predators like tuna. Japan catches less than five million metric tons of fish a year, a 29 percent drop from 1996 to 2006. But Japan consumes nine million metric tons a year, about 582 million metric tons in primary-production terms. Though the average Chinese consumer generally eats smaller fish than the average Japanese consumer does, China’s massive population gives it the world’s biggest seafood print, 694 million metric tons of primary production. The U.S., with both a large population and a tendency to eat apex fish, comes in third: 348.5 million metric tons of primary production. And the size of each of these nations’ seafood prints is growing. What the study points to, Pauly argues, is that these quantities are not just extremely large but also fundamentally unsustainable.

Exactly how unsustainable can be seen in global analyses of seafood trade compiled by Wilf Swartz, an economist working on SeafoodPrint. As the maps on page 86 show, human¬ity’s consumption of the ocean’s primary production changed dramatically from the 1950s to the early 2000s. In the 1950s much less of the ocean was being fished to meet our needs. But as affluent nations increasingly demanded apex predators, they exceeded the primary-production capacities of their exclusive economic zones, which extend up to 200 nautical miles from their coasts. As a result, more and more of the world’s oceans had to be fished to keep supplies constant or growing.

Areas outside of these zones are known in nautical parlance as the high seas. These vast territories, the last global commons on Earth, are technically owned by nobody and everybody. The catch from high-seas areas has risen to nearly ten times what it was in 1950, from 1.6 million metric tons to around 13 million metric tons. A large part of that catch is high-level, high-value tuna, with its huge seafood print.

The wealthier nations that purchase most of the products of these fisheries are essentially privatizing them. Poorer countries simply cannot afford to bid for high-value species. Citizens in these nations can also lose out if their governments enter into fishing or trade agreements with wealthier nations. In these agreements local fish are sold abroad and denied to local citizens—those who arguably have the greatest need to eat them and the greatest right to claim them.

Although supermarkets in developed nations like the U.S. and Japan still abound with fish flesh, SeafoodPrint suggests that this abundance is largely illusory because it depends on these two troubling phenomena: broader and broader swaths of the high seas transformed from fallow commons into heavily exploited, monopolized fishing grounds; and poor nations’ seafood wealth spirited away by the highest bidder.

Humanity’s demand for seafood has now driven fishing fleets into every virgin fishing ground in the world. There are no new grounds left to exploit. But even this isn’t enough. An unprecedented buildup of fishing capacity threatens to outstrip seafood supplies in all fishing grounds, old and new. A report by the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recently concluded that the ocean doesn’t have nearly enough fish left to support the current onslaught. Indeed, the report suggests that even if we had half as many boats, hooks, and nets as we do now, we would still end up catching too many fish.

Some scientists, looking at the same data, see a different picture than Daniel Pauly does. Ray Hilborn, a fisheries scientist at the University of Washington, doesn’t think the situation is so dire. “Daniel is fond of showing a graph that suggests that 60 to 70 percent of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited or collapsed,” he says. “The FAO’s analysis and independent work I have done suggests that the number is more like 30 percent.” Increased pressure on seafood shouldn’t come as a surprise, he adds, since the goal of the global fishing industry is to fully exploit fish populations, though without damaging their long-term viability.

Many nations, meanwhile, are trying to compensate for the world’s growing seafood deficit by farming or ranching high-level predators such as salmon and tuna, which helps maintain the illusion of abundance in the market¬place. But there’s a big problem with that approach: Nearly all farmed fish consume meal and oil derived from smaller fish. This is another way that SeafoodPrint might prove useful. If researchers can tabulate the ecological value of wild fish consumed on fish farms, they could eventually show the true impact of aquaculture.

Given such tools, policymakers might be in a better position to establish who is taking what from the sea and whether that is just and sustainable. As a global study, SeafoodPrint makes clear that rich nations have grossly underestimated their impacts. If that doesn’t change, the abundance of fish in our markets could drop off quickly. Most likely the wealthy could still enjoy salmon and tuna and swordfish. But middle-class fish-eaters might find their seafood options considerably diminished, if not eliminated altogether.

What then is SeafoodPrint’s long-range poten¬tial? Could some version of it guide a conservation agreement in which nations are given a global allowance of oceanic primary production and fined or forced to mend their ways if they exceed it?

“That would be nice, wouldn’t it?” Pauly says. He points out that we already know several ways to shrink our impact on the seas: reduce the world’s fishing fleets by 50 percent, establish large no-catch zones, limit the use of wild fish as feed in fish-farming. Unfortunately, the seafood industry has often blocked the road to reform.

SeafoodPrint could also give consumers a map around that roadblock—a way to plot the course toward healthy, abundant oceans. Today there are dozens of sustainable-seafood campaigns, each of which offers suggestions for eating lower on the marine food chain. These include buying farmed tilapia instead of farmed salmon, because tilapia are largely herbivorous and eat less fish meal when farmed; choosing trap-caught black cod over long-lined Chilean sea bass, because fewer unwanted fish are killed in the process of the harvest; and avoiding eating giant predators like Atlantic bluefin tuna altogether, because their numbers are simply too low to allow any harvest at all.

The problem, say conservationists, is that the oceans have reached a critical point. Simply changing our diets is no longer sufficient if fish are to recover and multiply in the years ahead. What Pauly and other conservation biologists now believe is that suggestions must be transformed into obligations. If treaties can establish seafood-consumption targets for every nation, they argue, citizens could hold their governments responsible for meeting those targets. Comparable strategies have worked to great effect in terrestrial ecosystems, for trade items such as furs or ivory. The ocean deserves a similar effort, they say.

“Barely one percent of the ocean is now protected, compared with 12 percent of the land,” Enric Sala adds, “and only a fraction of that is fully protected.” That’s why National Geographic is partnering with governments, businesses, conservation organizations, and citizens to promote marine reserves and help reduce the impact of fishing around the globe.

In the end, neither Pauly nor Sala nor the rest of the SeafoodPrint team wants to destroy the fishing industry, eliminate aquaculture, or ban fish eating. What they do want to change is busi¬ness as usual. They want to let people know that today’s fishing and fish-farming practices are not sustainable and that the people who advocate maintaining the status quo are failing to consider the ecological and economic ramifications. By accurately measuring the impacts nations have on the sea, Seafood¬Print may lay the groundwork for effective change, making possible the rebuilding of the ocean’s dwindling wealth. Such a course, Pauly believes, could give the nations of the world the capability, in the not too distant future, to equitably share a truly bountiful, resurrected ocean, rather than greedily fight over the scraps that remain in the wake of a collapse.
Just before dawn a seafood summit convenes near Honolulu Harbor. As two dozen or so buyers enter the United Fishing Agency warehouse, they don winter parkas over their aloha shirts to blunt the chill of the refrigeration. They flip open their cell phones, dial their clients in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Honolulu—wherever expensive fish are eaten—and wait. Soon the big freight doors on the seaward side of the warehouse slide open, and a parade of marine carcasses on pallets begins. Tuna as big around as wagon wheels. Spearfish and swordfish, their bills sawed off, their bodies lined up like dull gray I beams. Thick-lipped opah with eyes the size of hockey pucks rimmed with gold. They all take their places in the hall. Auctioneers drill core samples from the fish and lay the ribbons of flesh on the lifeless white bellies. Buyers finger these samples, trying to divine quality from color, clarity, texture, and fat content. As instructions come in over cell phones, bids are conveyed to the auctioneer through mysterious hand gestures. Little sheets of paper with indecipherable scribbling are slapped on a fish’s flank when a sale is finalized. One by one fish are auctioned and sold to the highest bidder. In this way the marine wealth of the north-central Pacific is divided up among some of the world’s most affluent purchasers. Every year more than 170 billion pounds (77.9 million metric tons) of wild fish and shellfish are caught in the oceans—roughly three times the weight of every man, woman, and child in the United States. Fisheries managers call this overwhelming quantity of mass-hunted wildlife the world catch, and many maintain that this harvest has been relatively stable over the past decade. But an ongoing study conducted by Daniel Pauly, a fisheries scientist at the University of British Columbia, in conjunction with Enric Sala, a National Geographic fellow, suggests that the world catch is neither stable nor fairly divided among the nations of the world. In the study, called SeafoodPrint and supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts and National Geographic, the researchers point the way to what they believe must be done to save the seas. They hope the study will start by correcting a common misperception. The public imagines a nation’s impact on the sea in terms of the raw ton¬nage of fish it catches. But that turns out to give a skewed picture of its real impact, or seafood print, on marine life. “The problem is, every fish is different,” says Pauly. “A pound of tuna represents roughly a hundred times the footprint of a pound of sardines.” The reason for this discrepancy is that tuna are apex predators, meaning that they feed at the very top of the food chain. The largest tuna eat enormous amounts of fish, including intermediate-level predators like mackerel, which in turn feed on fish like anchovies, which prey on microscopic copepods. A large tuna must eat the equivalent of its body weight every ten days to stay alive, so a single thousand-pound tuna might need to eat as many as 15,000 smaller fish in a year. Such food chains are present throughout the world’s ocean ecosystems, each with its own apex animal. Any large fish—a Pacific swordfish, an Atlantic mako shark, an Alaska king salmon, a Chilean sea bass—is likely to depend on several levels of a food chain. To gain an accurate picture of how different nations have been using the resources of the sea, the SeafoodPrint researchers needed a way to compare all types of fish caught. They decided to do this by measuring the amount of “primary production”—thos e microscopic organisms at the bottom of the marine food web—required to make a pound of a given type of fish. They found that a pound of bluefin tuna, for example, might require a thousand pounds or more of primary production. In assessing the true impact that nations have on the seas, the team needed to look not just at what a given nation caught but also at what the citizens of that nation ate. “A country can acquire primary production by fishing, or it can acquire it by trade,” Pauly says. “It is the sheer power of wealthy nations to acquire primary production that is important.” Nations with money tend to buy a lot of fish, and a lot of the fish they buy are large apex predators like tuna. Japan catches less than five million metric tons of fish a year, a 29 percent drop from 1996 to 2006. But Japan consumes nine million metric tons a year, about 582 million metric tons in primary-production terms. Though the average Chinese consumer generally eats smaller fish than the average Japanese consumer does, China’s massive population gives it the world’s biggest seafood print, 694 million metric tons of primary production. The U.S., with both a large population and a tendency to eat apex fish, comes in third: 348.5 million metric tons of primary production. And the size of each of these nations’ seafood prints is growing. What the study points to, Pauly argues, is that these quantities are not just extremely large but also fundamentally unsustainable. Exactly how unsustainable can be seen in global analyses of seafood trade compiled by Wilf Swartz, an economist working on SeafoodPrint. As the maps on page 86 show, human¬ity’s consumption of the ocean’s primary production changed dramatically from the 1950s to the early 2000s. In the 1950s much less of the ocean was being fished to meet our needs. But as affluent nations increasingly demanded apex predators, they exceeded the primary-production capacities of their exclusive economic zones, which extend up to 200 nautical miles from their coasts. As a result, more and more of the world’s oceans had to be fished to keep supplies constant or growing. Areas outside of these zones are known in nautical parlance as the high seas. These vast territories, the last global commons on Earth, are technically owned by nobody and everybody. The catch from high-seas areas has risen to nearly ten times what it was in 1950, from 1.6 million metric tons to around 13 million metric tons. A large part of that catch is high-level, high-value tuna, with its huge seafood print. The wealthier nations that purchase most of the products of these fisheries are essentially privatizing them. Poorer countries simply cannot afford to bid for high-value species. Citizens in these nations can also lose out if their governments enter into fishing or trade agreements with wealthier nations. In these agreements local fish are sold abroad and denied to local citizens—those who arguably have the greatest need to eat them and the greatest right to claim them. Although supermarkets in developed nations like the U.S. and Japan still abound with fish flesh, SeafoodPrint suggests that this abundance is largely illusory because it depends on these two troubling phenomena: broader and broader swaths of the high seas transformed from fallow commons into heavily exploited, monopolized fishing grounds; and poor nations’ seafood wealth spirited away by the highest bidder. Humanity’s demand for seafood has now driven fishing fleets into every virgin fishing ground in the world. There are no new grounds left to exploit. But even this isn’t enough. An unprecedented buildup of fishing capacity threatens to outstrip seafood supplies in all fishing grounds, old and new. A report by the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recently concluded that the ocean doesn’t have nearly enough fish left to support the current onslaught. Indeed, the report suggests that even if we had half as many boats, hooks, and nets as we do now, we would still end up catching too many fish. Some scientists, looking at the same data, see a different picture than Daniel Pauly does. Ray Hilborn, a fisheries scientist at the University of Washington, doesn’t think the situation is so dire. “Daniel is fond of showing a graph that suggests that 60 to 70 percent of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited or collapsed,” he says. “The FAO’s analysis and independent work I have done suggests that the number is more like 30 percent.” Increased pressure on seafood shouldn’t come as a surprise, he adds, since the goal of the global fishing industry is to fully exploit fish populations, though without damaging their long-term viability. Many nations, meanwhile, are trying to compensate for the world’s growing seafood deficit by farming or ranching high-level predators such as salmon and tuna, which helps maintain the illusion of abundance in the market¬place. But there’s a big problem with that approach: Nearly all farmed fish consume meal and oil derived from smaller fish. This is another way that SeafoodPrint might prove useful. If researchers can tabulate the ecological value of wild fish consumed on fish farms, they could eventually show the true impact of aquaculture. Given such tools, policymakers might be in a better position to establish who is taking what from the sea and whether that is just and sustainable. As a global study, SeafoodPrint makes clear that rich nations have grossly underestimated their impacts. If that doesn’t change, the abundance of fish in our markets could drop off quickly. Most likely the wealthy could still enjoy salmon and tuna and swordfish. But middle-class fish-eaters might find their seafood options considerably diminished, if not eliminated altogether. What then is SeafoodPrint’s long-range poten¬tial? Could some version of it guide a conservation agreement in which nations are given a global allowance of oceanic primary production and fined or forced to mend their ways if they exceed it? “That would be nice, wouldn’t it?” Pauly says. He points out that we already know several ways to shrink our impact on the seas: reduce the world’s fishing fleets by 50 percent, establish large no-catch zones, limit the use of wild fish as feed in fish-farming. Unfortunately, the seafood industry has often blocked the road to reform. SeafoodPrint could also give consumers a map around that roadblock—a way to plot the course toward healthy, abundant oceans. Today there are dozens of sustainable-seafood campaigns, each of which offers suggestions for eating lower on the marine food chain. These include buying farmed tilapia instead of farmed salmon, because tilapia are largely herbivorous and eat less fish meal when farmed; choosing trap-caught black cod over long-lined Chilean sea bass, because fewer unwanted fish are killed in the process of the harvest; and avoiding eating giant predators like Atlantic bluefin tuna altogether, because their numbers are simply too low to allow any harvest at all. The problem, say conservationists, is that the oceans have reached a critical point. Simply changing our diets is no longer sufficient if fish are to recover and multiply in the years ahead. What Pauly and other conservation biologists now believe is that suggestions must be transformed into obligations. If treaties can establish seafood-consumption targets for every nation, they argue, citizens could hold their governments responsible for meeting those targets. Comparable strategies have worked to great effect in terrestrial ecosystems, for trade items such as furs or ivory. The ocean deserves a similar effort, they say. “Barely one percent of the ocean is now protected, compared with 12 percent of the land,” Enric Sala adds, “and only a fraction of that is fully protected.” That’s why National Geographic is partnering with governments, businesses, conservation organizations, and citizens to promote marine reserves and help reduce the impact of fishing around the globe. In the end, neither Pauly nor Sala nor the rest of the SeafoodPrint team wants to destroy the fishing industry, eliminate aquaculture, or ban fish eating. What they do want to change is busi¬ness as usual. They want to let people know that today’s fishing and fish-farming practices are not sustainable and that the people who advocate maintaining the status quo are failing to consider the ecological and economic ramifications. By accurately measuring the impacts nations have on the sea, Seafood¬Print may lay the groundwork for effective change, making possible the rebuilding of the ocean’s dwindling wealth. Such a course, Pauly believes, could give the nations of the world the capability, in the not too distant future, to equitably share a truly bountiful, resurrected ocean, rather than greedily fight over the scraps that remain in the wake of a collapse. rod and line
  • Score: 0

10:18pm Sun 25 Nov 12

polblagger says...

Forget all this long winded fisherman justification.

Do we need to kill these fish to live - No.

Do fisherman put these fish through this ordeal for their own gratification - Yes

There is no excuse for this practice unless you're a sadist.
Forget all this long winded fisherman justification. Do we need to kill these fish to live - No. Do fisherman put these fish through this ordeal for their own gratification - Yes There is no excuse for this practice unless you're a sadist. polblagger
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

polblagger wrote:
Forget all this long winded fisherman justification.

Do we need to kill these fish to live - No.

Do fisherman put these fish through this ordeal for their own gratification - Yes

There is no excuse for this practice unless you're a sadist.
When you eat seafood, what impact are you having on the ocean and its interdependent and increasingly vulnerable marine population? Today’s health, safety, and sustainability considerations can make it complicated to determine the best seafood choices for you and your family. This interactive guide compiles all the information you need to continue to eat healthfully while lowering your seafood footprint. Use it to find out where your favorite fish ranks in sustainability, toxicity, and omega-3 content, as well its place in the food chain—and why it matters.
[quote][p][bold]polblagger[/bold] wrote: Forget all this long winded fisherman justification. Do we need to kill these fish to live - No. Do fisherman put these fish through this ordeal for their own gratification - Yes There is no excuse for this practice unless you're a sadist.[/p][/quote]When you eat seafood, what impact are you having on the ocean and its interdependent and increasingly vulnerable marine population? Today’s health, safety, and sustainability considerations can make it complicated to determine the best seafood choices for you and your family. This interactive guide compiles all the information you need to continue to eat healthfully while lowering your seafood footprint. Use it to find out where your favorite fish ranks in sustainability, toxicity, and omega-3 content, as well its place in the food chain—and why it matters. rod and line
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

polblagger wrote:
Forget all this long winded fisherman justification.

Do we need to kill these fish to live - No.

Do fisherman put these fish through this ordeal for their own gratification - Yes

There is no excuse for this practice unless you're a sadist.
When you eat seafood, what impact are you having on the ocean and its interdependent and increasingly vulnerable marine population? Today’s health, safety, and sustainability considerations can make it complicated to determine the best seafood choices for you and your family. This interactive guide compiles all the information you need to continue to eat healthfully while lowering your seafood footprint. Use it to find out where your favorite fish ranks in sustainability, toxicity, and omega-3 content, as well its place in the food chain—and why it matters.
[quote][p][bold]polblagger[/bold] wrote: Forget all this long winded fisherman justification. Do we need to kill these fish to live - No. Do fisherman put these fish through this ordeal for their own gratification - Yes There is no excuse for this practice unless you're a sadist.[/p][/quote]When you eat seafood, what impact are you having on the ocean and its interdependent and increasingly vulnerable marine population? Today’s health, safety, and sustainability considerations can make it complicated to determine the best seafood choices for you and your family. This interactive guide compiles all the information you need to continue to eat healthfully while lowering your seafood footprint. Use it to find out where your favorite fish ranks in sustainability, toxicity, and omega-3 content, as well its place in the food chain—and why it matters. rod and line
  • Score: 0

10:36pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

1. Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption
Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. A few things you can do to get started today: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, take the stairs, and bundle up or use a fan to avoid oversetting your thermostat.

2. Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices
Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable.

3. Use Fewer Plastic Products
Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in nondisposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible.

4. Help Take Care of the Beach
Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach cleanups.

5. Don't Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life
Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items such as coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products.

6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem.

7. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean
Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home.

8. Influence Change in Your Community
Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood counter.

9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly
Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.

10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life
All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.
1. Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. A few things you can do to get started today: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, take the stairs, and bundle up or use a fan to avoid oversetting your thermostat. 2. Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable. 3. Use Fewer Plastic Products Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in nondisposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible. 4. Help Take Care of the Beach Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach cleanups. 5. Don't Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items such as coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products. 6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem. 7. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home. 8. Influence Change in Your Community Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood counter. 9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option. 10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others. rod and line
  • Score: 0

10:36pm Sun 25 Nov 12

polblagger says...

rod and line wrote:
polblagger wrote:
Forget all this long winded fisherman justification.

Do we need to kill these fish to live - No.

Do fisherman put these fish through this ordeal for their own gratification - Yes

There is no excuse for this practice unless you're a sadist.
When you eat seafood, what impact are you having on the ocean and its interdependent and increasingly vulnerable marine population? Today’s health, safety, and sustainability considerations can make it complicated to determine the best seafood choices for you and your family. This interactive guide compiles all the information you need to continue to eat healthfully while lowering your seafood footprint. Use it to find out where your favorite fish ranks in sustainability, toxicity, and omega-3 content, as well its place in the food chain—and why it matters.
Are you and advertising BOT or on drugs?
[quote][p][bold]rod and line[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]polblagger[/bold] wrote: Forget all this long winded fisherman justification. Do we need to kill these fish to live - No. Do fisherman put these fish through this ordeal for their own gratification - Yes There is no excuse for this practice unless you're a sadist.[/p][/quote]When you eat seafood, what impact are you having on the ocean and its interdependent and increasingly vulnerable marine population? Today’s health, safety, and sustainability considerations can make it complicated to determine the best seafood choices for you and your family. This interactive guide compiles all the information you need to continue to eat healthfully while lowering your seafood footprint. Use it to find out where your favorite fish ranks in sustainability, toxicity, and omega-3 content, as well its place in the food chain—and why it matters.[/p][/quote]Are you and advertising BOT or on drugs? polblagger
  • Score: 0

10:43pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rod and line says...

Sustainable seafood represents a healthy relationship with our oceans that can endure forever. When humans consume seafood, we leave an indelible mark on the ecosystem. It is critically important for our own well-being—and that of the oceans—that we understand the impacts of our choices.

The oceans sustain all life on Earth and are vitally important to our own lives. Although they cover more than 70 percent of our planet, the oceans are not infinitely resilient, and our quest for more and more seafood has brought about disastrous consequences. The health of the oceans impacts many of our primary concerns, including our own health and nutrition, access to food for all economic levels, sustainable economic development, our social structures, and just plain delicious meals. Our seafood choices offer a daily opportunity for each of us to contribute to the oceans' restoration.

Take some time to educate yourself about the right decisions—and make a difference in the health of the planet.—Barton Seaver, chef and seafood expert




What Is Sustainable Seafood?

Not so long ago the ocean’s bounty seemed to have no limit. Now we know better. Efficient fishing fleets and an ever growing hunger for seafood have pushed many of the world’s fisheries to the brink. A shocking 70 percent are exploited, overexploited, or have already suffered a collapse—and the problem is much bigger than a few missed meals. Thriving ocean ecosystems are important for the health of the entire planet.

Sustainable seafood is a way to replenish our oceans and manage their resources into the future. Informed consumers can make all the difference by finding out where their fish comes from and by making responsible choices.

Sustainable fisheries target plentiful species, including those smaller and lower on the food chain, because they can reproduce quickly to sustain their populations. They also mandate environmental safeguards like curbing bycatch and reducing dredging and other destructive fishing practices. Sustainable wild fisheries must be well managed, with accurate population monitoring and regulations that can track seafood from the fishing boat to the dinner table.

Aquaculture is a big part of the picture. Fish farms produce half of all the seafood the world eats—but not all of them are created equal. True sustainable operations minimize environmental impacts like pollution, disease, and other damage to coastal ecosystems on which wild species depend. They also avoid using wild-caught fish as feed, a practice that puts enormous additional stress on wild fish stocks.
Sustainable seafood represents a healthy relationship with our oceans that can endure forever. When humans consume seafood, we leave an indelible mark on the ecosystem. It is critically important for our own well-being—and that of the oceans—that we understand the impacts of our choices. The oceans sustain all life on Earth and are vitally important to our own lives. Although they cover more than 70 percent of our planet, the oceans are not infinitely resilient, and our quest for more and more seafood has brought about disastrous consequences. The health of the oceans impacts many of our primary concerns, including our own health and nutrition, access to food for all economic levels, sustainable economic development, our social structures, and just plain delicious meals. Our seafood choices offer a daily opportunity for each of us to contribute to the oceans' restoration. Take some time to educate yourself about the right decisions—and make a difference in the health of the planet.—Barton Seaver, chef and seafood expert What Is Sustainable Seafood? Not so long ago the ocean’s bounty seemed to have no limit. Now we know better. Efficient fishing fleets and an ever growing hunger for seafood have pushed many of the world’s fisheries to the brink. A shocking 70 percent are exploited, overexploited, or have already suffered a collapse—and the problem is much bigger than a few missed meals. Thriving ocean ecosystems are important for the health of the entire planet. Sustainable seafood is a way to replenish our oceans and manage their resources into the future. Informed consumers can make all the difference by finding out where their fish comes from and by making responsible choices. Sustainable fisheries target plentiful species, including those smaller and lower on the food chain, because they can reproduce quickly to sustain their populations. They also mandate environmental safeguards like curbing bycatch and reducing dredging and other destructive fishing practices. Sustainable wild fisheries must be well managed, with accurate population monitoring and regulations that can track seafood from the fishing boat to the dinner table. Aquaculture is a big part of the picture. Fish farms produce half of all the seafood the world eats—but not all of them are created equal. True sustainable operations minimize environmental impacts like pollution, disease, and other damage to coastal ecosystems on which wild species depend. They also avoid using wild-caught fish as feed, a practice that puts enormous additional stress on wild fish stocks. rod and line
  • Score: 0

6:52am Mon 26 Nov 12

seahorse steve says...

Not really sure why you are cutting and pasting all this stuff ?, I am aware of these things, the point is , the two people in the photo caught an endangered species , which was then killed , I have had a quick look on the net , and Facebook , both are big game fishermen , and I believe this trip was no different , a dark day for the future of sustainable angling , and those who wish to distance themselves from the redneck black sack filling morons of old , big man hunter gatherer belong in the history books , things have moved on ..or so I thought .
Not really sure why you are cutting and pasting all this stuff ?, I am aware of these things, the point is , the two people in the photo caught an endangered species , which was then killed , I have had a quick look on the net , and Facebook , both are big game fishermen , and I believe this trip was no different , a dark day for the future of sustainable angling , and those who wish to distance themselves from the redneck black sack filling morons of old , big man hunter gatherer belong in the history books , things have moved on ..or so I thought . seahorse steve
  • Score: 0

8:23am Mon 26 Nov 12

peter flea bite says...

Omg its still raining idiots
its a plastic fish
I have an identical picture
of myself with one at Looe
take a look on face book
there's hundreds on there.
to kill them
deflate them
just pull the plug out
you can get tigers and elephants
they come complete with an inflation pump.
Omg its still raining idiots its a plastic fish I have an identical picture of myself with one at Looe take a look on face book there's hundreds on there. to kill them deflate them just pull the plug out you can get tigers and elephants they come complete with an inflation pump. peter flea bite
  • Score: 0

9:15am Mon 26 Nov 12

O'Really says...

Wrong.
~
Wrong to catch an endangered species, and so cruelly.
~
The Echo should not glamourise it, but it has at least sparked a debate about this important subject.
Wrong. ~ Wrong to catch an endangered species, and so cruelly. ~ The Echo should not glamourise it, but it has at least sparked a debate about this important subject. O'Really
  • Score: 0

10:17am Mon 26 Nov 12

Mamma Troll says...

you better eat all that of no pudding for you
you better eat all that of no pudding for you Mamma Troll
  • Score: 0

10:17am Mon 26 Nov 12

Mamma Troll says...

you better eat all that or no pudding for you!
you better eat all that or no pudding for you! Mamma Troll
  • Score: 0

3:38pm Mon 26 Nov 12

sfcdazz6 says...

your all on here giving it large about him catching it but i bet you all eat tuna! Hypocrits! better on rod and line tha being trawled!
your all on here giving it large about him catching it but i bet you all eat tuna! Hypocrits! better on rod and line tha being trawled! sfcdazz6
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Mon 26 Nov 12

davecook says...

beachcomber1 wrote:
how can people take delight in killing other living creatures for "sport"? particularly a magnificent creature such as this?
People eat tuna. Better to catch one on a line like this than put out nets and kill a load of by catch. I quite like eating roadkill, it's already dead anyway. Presumably you would be happy eating roadkill as it fits neatly within your lifestyle...........
.
[quote][p][bold]beachcomber1[/bold] wrote: how can people take delight in killing other living creatures for "sport"? particularly a magnificent creature such as this?[/p][/quote]People eat tuna. Better to catch one on a line like this than put out nets and kill a load of by catch. I quite like eating roadkill, it's already dead anyway. Presumably you would be happy eating roadkill as it fits neatly within your lifestyle........... . davecook
  • Score: 0

8:53am Tue 27 Nov 12

yesitsmeagain says...

crikey got to be the most commented story i've seen on here ,

i fish in the spring summer in the hope of a meal or two ,

if people want to sportfish let them get on with it ,

we are all born different till the end !,

can we make a difference by stopping what we are doing who knows ?.
crikey got to be the most commented story i've seen on here , i fish in the spring summer in the hope of a meal or two , if people want to sportfish let them get on with it , we are all born different till the end !, can we make a difference by stopping what we are doing who knows ?. yesitsmeagain
  • Score: 0

11:43am Tue 27 Nov 12

Dorset Logic says...

did he died
did he died Dorset Logic
  • Score: 0

12:15am Thu 29 Nov 12

AdelaidePete says...

Call that a fish?
Call that a fish? AdelaidePete
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Cordite says...

Thats one big tin they are going to need!
Thats one big tin they are going to need! Cordite
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Thu 29 Nov 12

Rodney Trotter says...

Its a Fish................
..............
Its a Fish................ .............. Rodney Trotter
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

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