Since the end of World War II, the demand for canned tuna has risen at an extraordinary rate. Over the last 60 years, the number of tuna taken out of the world’s oceans has risen by over 1,000 percent. A new study released by Fisheries Research has shown that the rate of tuna fishing is currently unsustainable. According to the report, tuna could become extinct in the next few years. This would have extreme consequences for the fish populations in the world’s oceans.
According to the tuna study, fishing for tuna has now expanded into every region where tuna populations are known to exist. Fishing technology and equipment continues to improve, and larger and larger catches of tuna are taking place. Most of the tuna catch occurs in the Pacific Ocean and is taken by US and Japanese fishing vessels.
Scientists are quick to point out that there will be serious ramifications if tuna levels drop too far. Tuna are a predatory fish, so some smaller fish species may overpopulate. Tuna are also a source of food for sharks and some species of whales.
The study also pointed out another problem that is occurring due to tuna fishing. Many other types of sea life are taken as by catch when tuna is being fished. The main fish that is being taken with the tuna is shark. Blue shark are particularly vulnerable to by catch. Most of the shark caught with the tuna are discarded.
Shark populations are dropping precipitously in the world’s oceans due to fishing. Sharks take a long time to reproduce, and researchers fear that several shark species could face extinction in the coming years.
In order to halt the decline in tuna and shark populations, scientists believe that more controls will have to be put in place on the number of tuna fished from the oceans. There will also have to be a switch to sustainable sources of tuna.
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