Few fish species command respect and instill awe in observers. Bluefin tuna are an exception. They are beautiful and majestic animals, with flashes of iridescent blue, remarkable trans-oceanic migrations, and immense size. Anglers who have had the opportunity to fight a bluefin on rod and reel will likely treasure the memorable event for a lifetime. Add to their uniqueness that bluefin are also considered by many to be the world's premium sushi.
The high market demand and price for bluefin tuna are major threats and have led to overfishing and erosion of the populations. Their prized flesh spurs a lucrative, global trade. In addition to rod and reel, bluefin are hunted with nets, harpoons, traps, and handlines. Planes are chartered to spot bluefin schools for fishers out on the waters below. In the Mediterranean and Pacific, bluefin are ranched – meaning that they are held in pens and fed until their fat content and market price are ideal. Bluefin are also caught accidentally – as “bycatch” – in fisheries targeting other species, such as yellowfin tuna.
This onslaught of fishing pressure has led to a near collapse of the bluefin population in the Atlantic over the last 50 years (click here to view stock status information on Atlantic bluefin). The situation in the Pacific is not as clear as bluefin are not assessed on a regular basis by any international commission (click here to view stock status information on Pacific bluefin).
TAG science is designed to provide the new science, policy and management initiatives that can restore bluefin tuna populations. We are partnering with key bluefin tuna stakeholders to implement the needed conservation measures...NOW. Bluefin have been swimming in our oceans for over 500,000 years; we must act now to ensure the future of these populations for generations to come.
The following video provides an overview of TAG's science, and its relationship to management and conservation, as well as our commitment to ensuring a future for this magnificent fish.