National Geographic is airing a frivolous reality show about men competing for money to fish the Blue Fin Tuna.
The blue fin tuna is on several endangered species lists...it is considered in peril. I was stupefied when I saw the previews of this show because even Nat Geo itself has information about how endangered this giant fish is on its own website.
Sylvia Earle, an oceanographer and the National Geographic Society’s Explorer-in-Residence states "Consuming Blue Fin Tuna Is Like Barbecuing Pandas"
BlueFin are slow growing, late to mature, and long-lived compared to other tropical species of tuna. Found from the Gulf of Mexico, Newfoundland, east Atlantic, Canary Islands, Iceland, and even in the Mediterranean, they live in the Open Ocean and migrate long distances - likely following seasonal food stock. Their long migrations that take them nearly around the Atlantic mean that each school is regularly fished in many different locations; this is depleting all breeding stocks rapidly.
BlueFin tuna is at both the top and bottom of the food chain. Bits of dead plant and fish matter coupled with sunlight and the runoff from human sewage and industrial waste become the foods for plankton-microscopic algae and animals - which live at the surface of the oceans. The spawn of fish and other juveniles eat this plankton, including the young BlueFin tuna.
It comes as no surprise that BlueFin tuna is fast becoming extinct. With the massive increase in human populations and increased popularity of sushi and sashimi, it is becoming a prized catch, fetching higher and higher market prices, which fuel its hunt down. As of 1982, fishing of the species was restricted. By 1998, a rebuilding program was initiated with the intent to rebuild stock in the North Atlantic.
In 1999 and 2006 further restrictions on driftnets, catching methods, limits and hunting methods were restricted, and careful planning on preventing the total extinction of the species was implemented. Public interest groups became involved in 2010, even sending out boats that follow tuna fishing boats to monitor their fishing methods and to ensure they do not catch more than their yearly or seasonal limits. These actions barely stem the tide of massive kills for fish markets globally.