The Growing Importance of Communication for the Future of Interjurisdictional Fisheries Management, Using Bluefin Tuna as a Case Study
Fábio H. V. Hazin and Felipe Carvalho
The Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus is an iconic fish that may grow up to 700 kilograms and sell for shocking prices. In January 5, 2013, a 222-kilogram (489 pound) Bluefin Tuna fetched a record US$1.7 million (about $7,650 per kilogram or $3,500 per pound) in the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. This record-breaking fish was probably the most expensive fish specimen ever sold for food purposes. Although these figures are more than 100 times higher than the usual prices achieved by the Bluefin Tuna, this price surely highlights the great value and cultural importance of the species.
Besides being the most expensive fish species ever sold, the Bluefin Tuna has also been exploited by some of the oldest fisheries on the planet, being regularly fished for thousands of years, for instance, in the Aegean Sea and in the Strait of Gibraltar. The fishery for Bluefin Tuna in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea intensified in the early 1950s, resulting in a significant increase in catches from long-liners and purse seiners, with a total production peaking close to 40,000 metric tons (mt) in 1955. The landings then declined gradually, fluctuating from about 10,000 to 20,000 mt in 30 years, from the early 1960s to the late 1980s.