bluefin tuna in the ocean

Sushi is in trouble. Tuna is on pace to become an endangered species. Conservationists claim Bluefin tuna stocks in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean have dropped 60% between 1997 and 2007.

So environmental advocates have been asking the European Union to impose strict limits on fishing, but after intense negotiations the EU has abandoned a plan to put stricter fishing quotas on Bluefin tuna.

The current Mediterranean quota is 13,500 metric tons a year, but conservationists want a further reduction. The World Wildlife Fund calls Bluefin tuna on the brink of extinction.

But the EU has rejected attempts at slashing quotas. A spokesperson for the Pew Environment Group said he is disappointed with the “business as usual” approach to the issue by the European Union.

Pressure by the fishing industry is the most likely reason why the EU has been resistant to any measures to help save the tuna.

And environmentalists aren’t the only ones worried about tuna. In June, a group of celebrities, including Woody Harrelson and Sting, petitioned popular sushi restaurant Nobu to take BlueFin tuna off their menu.

But if tuna does go extinct, Stephen Colbert has a suitable replacement: invasive Asian carp. He wants to rename it “Kentucky Tuna.”

Image credit: Tom Puchner