I've reported the plight of the bluefin tuna a few times, but a new investigative report details the plight of this species that should already have been placed on the endangered species list - and probably would have, except tuna are worth too much money to bother regulating or protecting.
Money talks, and Japan's black market on tuna is worth $2 billion a year alone. "The fisheries industry is one of the most criminalized in the world", says Daneil Poley of the University of British Columbia. National fisheries administrations of various countries are a joke: for example, French fisherman undergoing trial all state that their own national fisheries ministry routinely violated their own laws.
Japan consumes 80% of all tuna caught or farmed, and an adult tuna fish is worth an average of $100,000. Mitsubishi (yes, they also make cars) enables 40% of the industry in Japan, facilitating the creation of tuna farms in countries with little or no fisheries laws and that also ignore international agreements such as CITES. While seemingly a good idea, these farms aren't used to breed tuna, but to 'fatten' wild catches and to 'launder' illegal international catches.
Unfortunately, it will probably be business as usual until the extinction bluefin tuna and the myriad of food chains they support as a top predator. There is simply too much money, legal and illegal, to be made for any realistic expectations to be had. Here's hoping that's not the case, however!
Want to do your part to stop participating in the faster-rather-than-slower extinction of tuna? Check out this ocean-friendly seafood guide!