Benny Zelkin Virginia 0

Save the Southern Bluefin Tuna

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To Whom It May Concern,

The Southern Blue-fin Tuna is under attack. Every year, the fishing industry harvests tens of thousands of tons of tuna from the ocean for the consumption of humans around the world. At the current rate of decrease in overall biomass, the global population will fall beneath 500 mature individuals within decades, eventually leading to the complete extinction of this breed of tuna. The quotas implemented by the International Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) have done nothing to stem the tide. In fact, by lowering supply, they have increased prices and hence the incentive for illegal, unregulated, and unsustainable fishing.

Now, you may be thinking: why should I care? There are other species of tuna you might say, other fish I can eat; what is so important about this one? The answer is simple: there is no other fish like the Southern Blue-fin Tuna. These animals have a unique physiology among both their kin in the Thunnus genus and other closely related organisms. Scientists have barely scratched the surface of their various body systems, despite the preponderance of research conducted in recent years. These adaptations allow the tuna to occupy a very specific niche as both predator and prey in multiple ecosystems. Hence, removing such a creature would likely upset the delicate balance inherent in the complex food webs of the ocean, possibly leading to a significant reduction in population, or even extinction, of other species. Additionally, the import and export of tuna is a significant portion of many coastal countries’ economies, namely New Zealand, Japan, and Australia. Any disruption in tuna fishery would seriously injure the markets of these and other nations. More to the point, it would increase the price (i.e. cost to consumer) of not only other species of tuna, but also other billfishes such as swordfish, sailfish, and marlin.

Hopefully, you now realize that you have both a responsibility and an incentive to attempt to conserve tuna populations. The simplest and most obvious step one should take is to stop eating tuna in all its forms (steaks, sushi/sashimi, canned tuna, etc.). The next and more difficult is to write a letter to a Congressman or other public official; most tuna conservation and research is conducted either directly by governments or through federally-funded, public organizations.

Thank you for your consideration and good day.

Benjamin Zelkin

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