In the same week Japan has proposed increasing the amount of Pacific bluefin tuna the nation is currently allowed to catch by up to 20%, concerns over the industry bottoming out have been raised elsewhere.
Long one of the most popular eating fish, tuna stocks are now believed to be as low as just 5% of historical levels.
“Fisheries caught 500,000 more metric tons in 2018 than in 2012, but were paid $500 million less in dock value,” a study author named Grantly Galland with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ international fisheries group said recently.
And whilst this means that hundreds of coastal economies supporting millions of jobs around the world are in danger of suffering, the populations of the most sought after skipjack, bigeye, yellowfin and bluefin tuna species are in danger of disappearing forever.
According to Amanda Nickson, director of Pew’s international fisheries “The tuna business is incredibly valuable.”
“But now we can conclusively see that catching more fish does not necessarily result in greater economic value.”
As of 2020, the world’s top tuna fishing nations are Indonesia, and Japan.
Indonesia took over 550,000 tons of all forms of tuna in 2018, with Japan taking 370,000 tons.
Five other nations, Taiwan, Ecuador Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Spain, and South Korea caught a total of 1.5 million tons – roughly 300,000 tons apiece.
Even the U.S. so often at the forefront of calling for limits on tuna fishing in Asia in particular took almost a quarter of a million tons.
“Implementing a modernised fisheries management system, known as harvest strategies, would eliminate an ineffective cycle of managers prioritising short-term profits over the long-term value,” Nickson added.