Bluefin Tuna: A Worthy Opponent in Decline - Oceana USA
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November 24, 2009

Bluefin Tuna: A Worthy Opponent in Decline

I’m a little disappointed in this New York Times story about Dave Lamoureux, a fisherman who battles bluefin tuna from his unmotorized sea kayak. On the one hand, it reinforces the mythos around bluefin, that they are majestic creatures worthy of being considered alongside terrestrial predators like tigers or lions. On the other hand, it presents the fish as just a critter to be caught because someone can. Much like big game hunting in Africa fell out of favor as the giant cats and elephants became endangered, bluefin tuna fishing should also be pursued only with the understanding that these are critically endangered animals.

It’s disappointing since Andrew Revkin has done a terrific job chronicling the massive overfishing of bluefin tuna in the very same newspaper. The population of bluefin that Lamoureux pursues from his kayak is among the most devastasted in the world, already reduced to less than 20 percent of their historic levels, and there are already strict rules in place to keep the fish from disappearing entirely.

Given that the story is floating near the top of the NYT’s most-emailed list right now, I see this as a missed opportunity to both celebrate the bluefin’s impressive power, fight and speed as well as warn about losing it to overfishing.