The North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is one of the most remarkable beings inhabiting planet earth. Fully mature adult Bluefins grow to a length of 2–2.5 metres (6 ft 7 in–8 ft 2 in) and will weigh about 350 kilograms (770 lb)
They are Apex predators – which means, they are predators that have no predators of their own – they’re at the top of the food chain, where they play a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystem.
These massive, torpedo shaped fish, are one of the most powerful swimmers in the sea, with bursts of speed up to 90 feet per second – about 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers/hour). Tagged Bluefins have been recorded making 3 trans-Atlantic trips – from the coast of North America to the Mediterranean sea – in a single year.
These majestic beings are now endangered and are on the brink of extinction. Stocks of breeding-age Atlantic Bluefin Tuna have been depleted by almost 90% over the past 30 years. The two primary spawning grounds for Bluefin Tuna are the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. While the Bluefins’ range is the entire North Atlantic, they return every year to where they were spawned. Gathering in large groups during spawning season, they are easy targets for commercial fisheries’ nets. The over fishing in the Mediterranean, coupled with the unknown, long term impact of last year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which may have wiped out an entire generation, have severely compromised the future of this magnificent fish.
Last year, the United Nations failed to impose a ban on the international trade of Bluefin Tunas – 30 European countries that profit the most from the uncontrolled harvesting of Bluefins, abstained from the vote. More recently, in May of 2011, succumbing to political pressure, the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) failed to put the Atlantic Bluefin on their Endangered Species list.
Why? An intelligent person might ask… Like everything else, it’s all about MONEY. Tuna is a $7.2 billion dollar a year industry. In January of this year, a 342 kg Tuna (that’s 754 lbs), was sold at auction in Japan for over 32 million yen – $396,000.00 Japan consumes 80% of the Atlantic Bluefin harvest every year and, everyone wants to cash in.
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is supposed to set and enforce quotas, based on science, to guard against illegal fishing, and to impose consequences on its members who fail to abide to those limits. ICCAT’s membership is comprised, in part, of the nations in the European Union and North Africa participating in the out-of-control harvest and trade of this species. These countries have no true incentive to abide by the limits set by ICCAT. True to the principles of capitalism, they want to make the money NOW – not caring about the future – not caring about depleting the resources the earth and nature have provided us. The Bluefin Tuna is truly, a Casualty of Greed…
Common sense tells us that the Bluefin Tuna should be protected, and that the harvesting of these beautiful beings should be severely limited, in order to guarantee the survival of the species. In an Equal Money System, where all decisions will be based on the principle of What’s Best for All, these kinds of atrocities will end. An Equal Money System will guarantee the survival of not only the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna – but the human race as well.
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