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Should blue fin tuna fishing be banned?

March 16th, 2010
12:29 PM ET

Blue fin tuna is the most prized sushi in Japan and each fish can fetch tens of thosuands of dollars on the market.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/16/sushi.blog.jpg
caption="Should we ban the sale of blue fin tuna?"]

But Japan's insatiable appetite for blue fin tuna - a country that consumes 80% of the global catch - is eating the fish to near extinction, say activists.

The EU and the U.S. are formally seeking to ban the trade of the fish at the UN meeting called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Qatar.

"The Atlantic Bluefin tuna has been over fished to such an extent that only about 20 percent are left in the world's oceans," Karen Sack from the Pew Environment Group told CNN.

"These are the lions or tigers of our oceans and we need to make sure that we protect them now before it is too late."

While countries like the U.S. are supporting the ban, Japan is opposed to it.

A vote on the blue fin tuna is expected sometime early next week.

We want to know what you think.

Should we ban the trade of blue fin tuna to save help save the speices? Is a total ban the answer or should we focus on reducing over fishing?

Have you ever had blue fin tuna sushi? Would you continue eating it knowing it was endangered?

And please let us know from where you are writing.

Posted by
Filed under:  General
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. William

    We need to really start thinking about the way we harvest sea life for food. Many species of sea life are endangered of extinction–just look at all the 'by-catch' loses that results from the the fishing industry. I mean is it really necessary to have 75 miles of fishing nets to satisfy our selfish appetites?

    March 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  2. Tony

    The choice is between reducing the catch now or having nothing to catch in the future... Seems like a no brainer to me!

    March 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  3. Laker LA

    1. Focus on reducing over fishing. It will decrease the supply and increase the price, therefore discouraging people from eating it.

    2. No but I would eat it if I had the opportunity.

    March 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  4. Xavier

    Most of people don't know the food sources, where they come from? How do they get on the table? What they made of?

    Its about time to let people aware of their appetities can kill the last species on earth yesterday, today & tomorrow.

    We don't dicuss culture respect or disrespect here....it just a matter of education and being responsible of our acts. Don't just look at the bite in front of our mouth but think a bit further, may be even farther to the next generation that one day they might ask us........where is the Blue Fin Tuna?

    March 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  5. Rich

    I have yet to see evidence that Japan will respect any ban on fishing or whaling imposed by international bodies. I have great admiration for the nation of Japan, but I do think they'd willingly cause the extinction of this species.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  6. CJK

    Japan has been raping the seas for decades. Worse, the rest of the world has let them get away with it.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  7. mongo

    If we don't start doing something now, the human race will pay the price.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  8. Patrick

    As if Japan will abide by any sort of fishing laws...The don't stop killing whales and they've increased their dolphin killings, so why would they stop killing tuna? The problem is much bigger than blue fin tuna. If anyone reading this has yet to watch the powerful documentary, The Cove, I highly recommend it.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  9. Arthur

    I am not critizicing Japanese for eating 80% of the world's tuna, but I do critize the fact that they are fishing instead of breeding them.

    In America and around (most of) the world, there are more people eating Salmon and you don´t see it going extinct....that's because there is a huge industry of breeding Salmons; similar to breeding farms of – Shrimp.

    Maybe I am an ignorant and they are breeding blue fin tunas already and I am not aware of such; but if they are already breeding farms, then politicians are double the ignorant for not creating laws for farming enough to feed their own country (Japan) from having it going extinct.


    March 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  10. HoHum

    Species have been going extinct since the beginning of time and after all the extinctions life still finds a way to survive ... If we are so stupid to eat ourselve into extinction ourselves .. so be it .. Some other life form will flourish in our place .... Evolution through Natural Selection will runs its course ...

    For crying out loud, some of you sound like if you could have saved a Tyrannosaurus Rex you would have knowing that creature would probably have eaten all of humanity to its core if we lived in its time ..

    Too many PHDs ... (Piled high and Deep) and not enough projects to keep them busy .... is my take on it .... We got scientists so bored now they are going back in History and re-defining dumb stuff like King Tut was murdered ... or better yet ... if you eat too many Bananas it could be harmful to your health ... lol..

    ... eating too much of anything will freaking kill ya .. oh and for all you 4 out of 5 doctors say fanatics ... make sure product was made in some area of the USA .. and not on the Island in the South Pacific where there are only 5 doctors on the whole island ...

    TOO MANY DUMMIES in this new technological world ...

    March 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  11. Ana

    Most Asian cultures still have the 'I care for myself and no other' mentality especially Japan and China. You have to start teaching the new generations to care for something they now think is not worth taking care of. A ban might raise the blue fin tuna price and open a black market, but it will not change the cultural disregard for an animal. Instead of a ban I would tax the sale of the item. Using this tax revenue to protect the species in some way, like farmig/release set-ups.

    March 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  12. Dwayne

    I just returned to Canada after having lived for 4 years in Japan. It is quite astonishing just how much blue fin tuna is consumed there. I'm not surprised Japan consumes 80% of the global catch. Japan has a long history of turning a blind eye to problems such as this (watch "The Cove"!), and their opposition to a ban is hardly unexpected. I think a ban is absolutely necessary. It's the only way to ensure the species survives.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  13. Randy Lakhan

    We continue to ignore vital signs about the environment, global warming, over-fishing until it will be too late.
    Al Gore's film is worthy to be looked at not only about global warming and how we're destroying our fresh water Table, but also the Oceans where other species share our planet.
    We must not ignore what's before us – awareness and realization that we have other fellow inhabitors.
    I'm in Canada from where our fisherman export these Fish to Japan; however, we must stop the harvest of Blue-Fin Tuna now before its too late.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  14. Patricia Mifsud

    Perhaps cut the quotas by 1/4 to start and see how it goes before you ban it completely. However, strick rules must be maintained then if the stock doesn't replish substantially then definitely a ban for two to three years will have to happen.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  15. guest

    Problem is that of economics...

    1. Ocean is too big, no one can really monitor it.
    2. If the specie's fishing was banned, price goes up, people determined will be more on the lookout to fish some.

    Only way, is to farm the things.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  16. Kirsi

    I have tasted Bluefin tuna sushi- it is wonderful. It is clear to see why sushi lovers anywhere love to eat it. However, I personally have not eaten bluefin tuna for years due to its endangered status and I support fishing ban.

    Oakland, CA

    March 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  17. guest

    No because Blue Fin tuna is a delicacy and it happens to taste very good. Nonetheless, overfishing and decimating a specie population is amoral. Accordingly, the only option we have is to follow the lead of many fish harvesting farms, where we can eat domesticated fish.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  18. T. Cinlarses

    I am even surprised that it is a question '.. if we should ban?'.
    I think question should rather be 'How we can keep a track on the blue fin tuna catch ban?' ...

    March 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  19. Bob Ritchie

    It's not very complicated. At the present rate of species harvesting many important species will collapse. Blue Fin tuna is one of those. When those whose livelihoods depend on this over-harvesting are constrained by regulation, they are unable and unwilling to halt their destructive behavior. For some reason they seem unable to see that their behavior (read: livelihood) is destined to end regardless of which path is taken; either halting the fishing or let the fishery collapse from mismanagement. It is NOT rocket-science! And it is definitely not politics.

    Trade in Blue Fin tuna should be banned totally.

    I love Blue Fin tuna, but will stop buying it from now on.

    We live in a fishing dependent area (Coastal Maine) and have seen this destructive behavior all too often. Strict regulation is the only action which succeeds.

    March 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  20. sushi lover

    im going to eat as much blue fin tuna as i ca before it becomes illegal,
    because even if we legally ban it,
    they'll go extinct anyways.

    March 17, 2010 at 2:44 am | Reply
  21. Beebler

    There needs to be a better way to grow food like this. There will always be a demand for certain foods and we will always run into this problem.

    We can't really criticize Japan for eating 80% of this fish, though, Americans would be against a ban if beef and pork were being protected. Basically, find a smarter way.

    March 17, 2010 at 3:22 am | Reply
  22. Mudabai Dominic.Jr

    Experts in ocean habitats and habitants should carry out a survey of how long it take for the percentage to grow significantly then it should be banned for that period.After the period of the ban is elapsed then there should be regulation on consumption.I have never eaten sushi before so I can't say how pained sushi lovers will be

    March 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  23. Chris

    Here we go again, the whole world is pointing fingers to another, criticising about the way how they eat or what they eat. I totally admit that when a specie is coming close to distinguish, a food supply neccaserry to feed a large population, actions are required to make sure that it will survive. So that next generations still have the same food supply. But yet i find it cruel and unfair to criticize a country like Japan, just because the population of Japan is so closely connected to the tuna, in the shape of sushi. Every population in this world has their own food supply. Culture and history has made it till what it is for ages till these days. If we really wanna point fingers to Japan, then we should also point the fingers to ourselve. We stuff gooses to make them get a bigger liver, a delicacy in France. Kill sturgeons for their caviar. A delicacy for most rich people. And what about exotic animals? How many crocodiles, snakes, animals with furb, seadogs etc. do we kill just to get the skin for a nice pair of boots or bag. All i try to say is, instead of pointing to other people all the time, maybe it's better if we all point to ourselve first, before we start to criticize another. Besides, if a country is relying on a food supply so much, do you really think they will make it disappear? I'm sure that the Japanese people will do their best to keep the bluefin tuna population intact. Just because most Japanese citizens eat sushi, and bluefin tuna is the top favorite. No one will kill a golden chicken.
    Don't undestand me wrong, just look to yourself first. I'm sure anyone of us will find something that can also lead to a lost of a certain specie or another important food supply. Just look to the amount of food most people on this planet just throw away in the bin. A little advice, think smart and criticize yourself first.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:46 am | Reply

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