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Bluefin Tuna in danger of disappearing from Med

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (AFP) - The rage for sushi and sashimi, Japan's raw fish dishes that overtook the West and have now spread to increasingly prosperous China, risks wiping out one of the Mediterranean's most emblematic residents: the bluefin tuna.

Sushi consumption took off after World War II, largely using southern bluefish tuna then found in huge numbers off the coast of Australia.

"This [Australian] stock has now collapsed thanks to over-fishing, and the Japanese turned their attention to the Atlantic bluefin tuna," said Fromentin, adding that despite its name, Atlantic bluefin comes mainly from the Mediterranean.

Prices began to climb. Fishing fleets were modernised in Europe, and new fishing fleets created in Turkey and northern Africa. The result -- a huge over-capacity in fishing.

Today more than 50,000 tonnes of bluefin tuna are caught every year in the Mediterreanean. To prevent stocks from collapsing, that figure should be limited to 15,000 tonnes in the short term, according to ICCAT.

"The bluefin tuna industry is in the process of fishing itself to death," said Greenpeace oceans campaigner Karli Thomas.

The risk now is that the depletion of tuna will wipe out the fishing sector, and cost thousands of jobs in the Mediterranean region.

The article goes on to describe how some tuna are captured, only to be moved to fish farms where they are fed other fish stocks in order to fatten them up. It takes as much as 45 pounds of food that people would normally eat, like sardines and shrimp, to add one kilo of body weight to each tuna.
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