Thirteen of the 23 tuna stocks evaluated in a report released on Thursday are either overfished or in danger of being overfished.
The report was compiled by Dr. James Joseph, chairman of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) science advisory committee and an ISSF board member. He blamed tuna overfishing on fleet overcapacity.
“There is too much fishing effort,” said Joseph, “[because] there are too many boats fishing.”
Of the 23 tuna stocks Joseph scrutinized, 13 are overfished or threatened by overfishing, including three of four bluefin stocks, all four yellowfin stocks, three of four bigeye stocks and three of six albacore stocks. All five skipjack stocks are above the maximum sustainable yield.
The report’s purpose is improve management of the world’s tuna resources by identifying successful management practices and eradicating harmful ones.
“The tuna regional fisheries management organizations have attempted to correct this situation by implementing a variety of measures to control fishing mortality,” explained Joseph. “Many of these efforts have not been successful in curtailing overfishing. As with most, if not all, command-and-control regulations, perverse economic incentives are established to circumvent regulations rather than positive economic incentives aligned with social goals reflected in the regulations.”