NOAA says not yet to listing of the Atlantic bluefin tuna
Yesterday, NOAA made its announcement of a decision on the Center for Biological Diversity's petition to list the Atlantic bluefin tuna, concluding that listing of the species was not warranted, however, NOAA also noted continued concern, and intends to revisit the decision with new science. The statement further explained as follows: ":On May 27, 2011, after an extensive scientific review, NOAA announced that Atlantic bluefin tuna currently do not warrant species protection under the Endangered Species Act. NOAA has committed to revisit this decision by early 2013, when more information will be available about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill, as well as a new stock assessment from the scientific arm of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the international body charged with the fish’s management and conservation. NOAA is formally designating both the western Atlantic and eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks of bluefin tuna as 'species of concern.' This places the species on a watchlist for concerns about its status and threats to the species under the Endangered Species Act."
The Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, is regarded as one of the most prized species in the ocean. It’s also one of the biggest, reaching average lengths of 6.5 feet, and weighing about 550lbs. One fish can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Bluefin, which remain a staple in some sushi restaurants, have been declining for decades due to overfishing. A record-breaking $396,000 bluefin tuna was sold at auction in January 2011. Bluefin tuna are at the top of the food chain, giving them an important role in the ecosystem. Top ocean predators, they sometimes hunt cooperatively, much like wolves. With streamlined bodies and retractable fins, they can bolt through water at speeds of 50 miles per hour, crossing oceans in weeks. Photo by NOAA available at scimag.com