Battle for the Western Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Given the Atlantic bluefin fishery is worth about $1 billion annually, and individual fish can sell for tens of thousands of dollars, it’s no surprise that politics has played such a prominent role in past management decisions.  In 2008, ICCAT’s handling of bluefin tuna was deemed a “travesty in fisheries management” and an “international disgrace.”

More Attacks on Science?

These politically motivated attacks on the science are not unique to Atlantic bluefin tuna and are being waged in multiple fora in the quest for higher catch limits on depleted species.  Requests for annual stock assessments are distracting scientists from more pressing priorities such as improving their models to reduce uncertainties. Competing models presented by industry-funded scientists are being touted as equally likely to those models presented by independent scientific bodies.  It’s a clever strategy—muddy the scientific advice enough to justify any management decision. Read more