4 tuna species show signs of recovery. Here’s what it tells us about the future of fishing – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology
This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.
Author: Joe Myers, Writer, Educational Content
- New data shows that four species of commercially caught tuna are on the road to recovery.
- However, there are regional differences in recovery and bad news for other species in the updated IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- Experts called on all regional fisheries management organizations to catch up and set fishing quotas in accordance with scientific advice.
- Sustainable and science-based management of fisheries is a key element of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
- A healthy ocean is vital as a source of food, for livelihoods and in the fight against climate change.
Four commercially caught tuna species are on the road to recovery, according to the update of the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Seven of the most commercially fished tuna species were assessed in the update, with four of them showing signs of recovery:
- Atlantic bluefin tuna moved from Endangered to Least Concern
- southern bluefin tuna changed from Critically Endangered to Endangered
- Albacore and yellowfin both have moved from Near Threatened to Least Concern.
The importance of prudent management
IUCN explains that these recoveries are the result of greater enforcement of more sustainable fishing quotas and work to combat illegal fishing.
“These Red List assessments are proof that sustainable fisheries approaches work, with huge long-term benefits for livelihoods and biodiversity. We must continue to enforce sustainable fishing quotas and fight illegal fishing, ”said Dr Bruce B Collette, Chair of the IUCN SSC Tuna and Billfish Specialist Group. “Tuna species migrate thousands of kilometers, so it is also essential to coordinate their management on a global scale. “
It is vital that all fisheries – not just tuna – are managed with care, explains Gemma Parkes of the Friends of Ocean Action at the World Economic Forum. This management must be carried out in a consistent and prudent manner – and on the basis of the best available scientific advice.
Not all the good news
The IUCN update, however, is not good news for tuna species. Although there are positive signs globally, there are regional disparities, with many stocks still severely depleted.
The largest eastern population of Atlantic bluefin tuna, native to the Mediterranean, has increased by at least 22% over the past four decades. But the smallest native population in the western Atlantic, native to the Gulf of Mexico, has declined by more than half during this time.
And the updated list showed bad news for other ocean species. More than a third of shark and ray species in the world are now threatened with extinction, and all of these threatened species are overexploited. Many are also affected by habitat loss and degradation and climate change.
But, as Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General, explains, “[The] The update of the IUCN Red List is a powerful sign that, despite increasing pressures on our oceans, species can recover if states truly engage in sustainable practices. “
What is the World Economic Forum doing about the ocean?
Our ocean covers 70% of the world’s surface and represents 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. We cannot have a healthy future without a healthy ocean, but it is more vulnerable than ever due to climate change and pollution.
Tackling the serious threats to our ocean means working with leaders from all sectors, from business to government to academia.
The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute, convenes the Friends of Ocean Action, a coalition of leaders working together to protect the seas. From a program with the Indonesian government to reduce plastic waste entering the sea to a global plan to track illegal fishing, Friends are pushing for new solutions. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1372898575710101506&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.weforum.org% 2Fagenda% 2F2021% 2F09% 2Ftuna-species-showing-signs-of-recovery-ocean-conservation% 2F & sessionId = 9a5cf26f921eeb92ec936397b8ae668fce46bba4 & theme = light & widgetsVersion = 1890d59c% 97A16279360827
Climate change is an inextricable part of the threat to our oceans, with rising temperatures and acidification disrupting fragile ecosystems. The Forum is leading a number of initiatives to support the transition to a low carbon economy, in particular by welcoming the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, which reduce emissions in their companies by 9%.
Does your organization want to work with the World Economic Forum? Learn more here.
A sustainable approach and why the ocean matters
Tackle the problem of overfishing and its impact on marine life, as well as other challenges like climate change, is a key component of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
SDG 14 “Life underwater” focuses only on that. The explanatory notes to the goal indicate that “careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future”. And Target 14.4 specifically focuses on the need for effective regulation to end overfishing and science-based management plans to restore fish stocks.
All of this is important because of the crucial role a healthy ocean plays – as a source of food, as a means of subsistence and as a key weapon in the fight against climate change.
Because, as Peter Thomson, United Nations Ocean Special Envoy and Friends of Ocean Action co-chair at the World Economic Forum in August, “You cannot have a healthy planet without a healthy ocean”.