Setting sail to shut down bluefin tuna fisheries

Feature story - 15 May, 2010
The Rainbow Warrior is heading out to confront one of the most irresponsible and destructive fishing operations in the world. Mediterranean bluefin tuna have been exploited to the brink of extinction - making them the most visible and tragic example of oceans and fishery mismanagement.

Stop the bluefin tuna massacre - create marine reserves now!

Scientists have warned that the fishery will collapse if business continues as usual. The species must be allowed time to recover and the Mediterranean bluefin fishery should be closed immediately. We will be enforcing the clear scientific recommendations and calling for an urgently needed network of Mediterranean marine reserves.

Extinction is forever

The crisis facing our oceans and key species like the bluefin tuna requires urgent action: the scientific consensus is that over 80 percent of the species has already been fished. If current fishing rates continue, scientists predict that the bluefin could disappear as a commercial species in just a few years. Globally, over 90 percent of large fish like tuna have disappeared from our oceans, and some scientists warn that all commercial fisheries could collapse within decades.

Politics and fishery management have failed our oceans and set the bluefin tuna on a one-way path to extinction.

Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner.

As a necessary first step to bluefin tuna recovery and to restoring our oceans to health, we are calling for the immediate closure of the Mediterranean bluefin fishery, by setting bluefin fishing quotas to zero until scientists can verify that the species has recovered.

At the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in March, governments failed to approve a ban on the lucrative trade in Atlantic bluefin meat. This measure could have helped avert rapid bluefin tuna extinction. But short term interests were put ahead of the long term survival of the species and the future value of this fish.

Time and tuna are running out

Urgent action to save our oceans is needed now from governments and the public. Consumers should avoid bluefin tuna and governments need to put healthy oceans ahead of short-term profits by changing fishing policies and creating marine reserves.

Earlier this week, our activists delayed the departure of three bluefin tuna fishing vessels from the port of Frontignan, France. The vessels were among those with the highest quotas in the French bluefin tuna fishing fleet.

Caged bluefin tuna in the Meditarranean.

Marine Reserves - NOW!

Barely one percent of the Mediterranean Sea is fully protected - a far cry from the 20 to 50 percent recommended by scientists. There is a serious risk that the Mediterranean will be exploited beyond its natural ability to replenish and recover, affecting its health and productivity for future generations - not just within the immediate region, but far beyond.

We are campaigning to establish a global network of marine reserves - areas of ocean off-limits to fishing, mining, drilling and other extractive activities- to cover 40 percent of the world’s oceans, including the Mediterranean. This is a necessary step to restoring our oceans and fish stocks back to health.

Take Action: Join the call for marine reserves!
Read More: Defending our Mediterranean

Check out the latest blogs on this issue:

Bad days for bluefin
Your tuna is too cheap
EU: Stop Spain's overfishing