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Save the tuna — your sushi’s at stake

Marketplace Staff Jan 26, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: Tunas are pretty fast swimmers — they can go up to 50 miles per hour — but apparently that isn’t fast enough. Too many tunas are getting caught in fishing nets. So today, in Japan, a group of international regulators came up with a plan to slow down the tuna death rate. Ashley Milne-Tyte tells us what’s at stake.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Tuna is big business.

Tuna fishing brings in revenue not just for fisherman, but for some small coastal countries who lease their fishing rights to the big industrials nations.

So what’s the global tuna market worth? Tom Grasso directs the fisheries program at the World Wildlife Fund.

TOM GRASSO: By way of example, the tuna fisheries of the western Pacific, which are made up of a number of species, are worth estimated around anywhere between $1 and $2 billion a year.

And that area accounts for just 40 percent of the world’s tuna. The problem, Grasso says, is that demand for tuna is so great that fish-crazed countries around the world are ignoring rather than respecting tuna quotas.

GRASSO: Follow the scientific advice: Only fish the number of fish that the scientists recommend.

He says if fishing keeps going at the rate it is now, it won’t be long before some species, like the sashimi-friendly bluefin tuna, become extinct.

I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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