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Bid For First Eco-Labelled Bluefin Tuna Raises Fears For Protection

“Conservationists warn the species, which was almost extinct 10 years ago, could be under threat if Japanese fishery is MSC certified”

“A decade ago, the highly prized “king of fish”, the bluefin tuna, was taken off menus in high-end restaurants and shunned by top chefs, amid warnings by environmentalists that it was being driven to extinction. Recent assessments of Atlantic bluefin tuna, which can grow to the size of a small car and live for up to 40 years, have shown much healthier populations.

But now conservationists and scientists are warning that the largest and most valuable tuna species could once again be under threat if a Japanese bluefin fishery in the Atlantic Ocean is awarded an internationally recognised “ecolabel” they claim is based on flawed science.

On Monday 1 June, an independent judge will hear evidence from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Japanese fishery and assessors for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), to help determine whether the assessors were right to recommend the fishery receives its label. If approved, the Japanese company Usufuku Honten can sell the first ever MSC-certified bluefin tuna to consumers, marking it as a well-managed sustainable fishery.”

Karen McVeigh reports for the Guardian June 1, 2020.