Public Policy Advocacy on Biodiversity Problems Resulting from Bluefin Tuna Overfishing in Pacific
Extinction of Bluefin Tuna species is among the major threat the aquatic biodiversity is experiencing along the Pacific region. The threat is resulting from illegal fishing and poor fishing practices due to the increasing demand for fish and fish products across the world (The Ocean Foundation, 2019). The fishing communities along the region fail to understand the repercussions of depleting aquatic resources which results in massive aquatic environmental damage. It is essential to note that every stakeholder is equally important in the protection of aquatic biodiversity from damage and depletion of its resources. Protection of the biodiversity ensures its sustainability for the benefit of the current and future generations. Creation of awareness and implementation of the formulated policies ensures the protection of endangered aquatic system like the Bluefin Tuna species.
The reason why most investors in fish and fish products are most interested in Bluefin tuna is that the fish big in size thus counting it resourceful. The species also produces most delicious food for human consumption thus increasing its demand in the market (Lubchenco & Damanaki, 2018). For these reasons, the Pacific Bluefin tuna species are experiencing commercial extinction due to the increased rate of overfishing. The situation has therefore raised concern among the involved countries and the concerned parties, creating a need for protection of the now declared endangered aquatic species.
The decline in the number of Bluefin tuna fish in the Pacific has directly affected the fishing communities as it has resulted to decrease in their daily catch. The market is also experiencing a shortage of fish and fish products extracted from the Bluefin tuna due to a decline in the supply of the fish. Overfishing and poor fishing habits have also greatly influenced the aquatic ecosystem balance and sustainability as a result of fishing young and most productive species (“International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2017 and 2018 Commercial Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean,” 2017). The overall result of this situation is increased poverty to the fishing community, global economic decline due to a shortage of supply of fish and fish products and unsustainability in the aquatic environment which basically interferes with the aquatic food chain.
Protection of the aquatic ecosystem and its sustainability is achieved through collective efforts from all the stakeholders in that particular field. The government and the environmental organizations are not only the viable stakeholders required to protect the aquatic biodiversity. Policymakers, Fishing communities, economists, agriculturalists also have a significant stake in ensuring biodiversity conservation and protection of endangered aquatic species like the Bluefin tuna. All the participants need to ensure that collective measures for aquatic biodiversity protection are enhanced and implemented to protect the endangered species.
The government and environmental conservation bodies like the Inter-America Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) play a major in educating the fishing communities and the creation of awareness of the impacts of illegal and unsustainable fishing practices. Policymakers, on the other hand, have to ensure that the formulated policies on protection of the aquatic ecosystem and the endangered species are adhered to by all the stakeholders. Agriculturalists are also entitled to the protection stake by ensuring the provision of alternatives from their farms to compensate nutrients obtained from the Bluefin tuna thus reducing the fishing pressure. Farmers also should avoid directing agricultural chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides into natural water bodies to avoid poisoning of the fish species.
On their side, the fishing communities who totally depend on Bluefin tuna for their living should improvise other sources of the fish like the pond and dams. This would be essential to reduce fishing pressure on the natural sources thus enhancing the sustainability of the aquatic ecosystem. The fishermen also should adopt proper fishing practices like seasonal fishing and use of large nets to avoid extinction of young and productive generation of fish. Seasonal fishing ensures the provision of adequate time for the fish to regenerate or reproduce thus preventing their extinction.
Having a great concern about the aquatic ecosystem sustainability, I feel that if the current situation of overfishing the Bluefin tuna will lead to complete extinction of the species. The idea here is to ensure that the rate of reproduction of the species is significantly higher than the rate of extraction. This can only be achieved through self-discipline on fishing practices and enforcing sustainable fishing policies. If the fishing communities along the Pacific region understands the implications of poor fishing practices and depletion of aquatic species whose demand is raising in the market, they would show cooperation in the protection of the biodiversity.
According to Harvey (2018), the application of best and sustainable approaches would help in the protection of over 90 percent of the young Bluefin tuna species in the Pacific Ocean. The sustainable approaches would involve decreasing the catch volume, using large fishing nets, and seasonal fishing. Such approaches would be a clear indication of taking responsibility for the ecosystem for a better reward. The problem is that individuals mainly prioritize their economic and social needs over the ecosystem. This is a negative mentality which will definitely result in exhaustion of the available resources in the effort of satisfying our needs.
If today we solve the ecosystem problems we are experiencing especially on the extinction of natural resources, the future generation will find the world a better place than it is today. The only way we can manage to feed the ever-growing world population with the limited resources we have is by ensuring the sustainability of what we have. Protection of Bluefin Tuna species from extinction is among the proper approaches to ensuring sustainability in the aquatic ecosystem. Declaration of the Bluefin tuna as an endangered species alarms the stakeholders to take appropriate actions which ensure the protection of the species from extinction through sustainable harvesting and implementation of the formulated policies.
Harvey, F. (2018, February 14). Overfishing causes Pacific Bluefin tuna numbers to drop 96%. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/09/overfishing-pacific-bluefin-tuna
International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2017 and 2018 Commercial Fishing Restrictions for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. (2017, January 18). Retrieved from http://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/18/2017-00623/international-fisheries-pacific-tuna-fisheries-2017-and-2018-commercial-fishing-restrictions-for
Lubchenco J., & Damanaki M. (2018, January 20). Opinion | Save the Pacific Bluefin Tuna. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/04/opinion/save-the-pacific-bluefin-tuna.html
The Ocean Foundation. (2019, February 16). Pacific Bluefin Tuna Endangered Species Act. Retrieved from http://www.oceanfdn.org/blog/pacific-bluefin-tuna-endangered-species-act