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Illegal fishing hurts environment, trade around the world

Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2004

... The fate of the giant bluefin tuna is another example of the way our oceans are being plundered to satisfy gourmet tastes. This year's harvest of the Atlantic tuna that spawn in the Mediterranean was a disaster for the fishermen of the islands off Sicily ... a result of the massive increase in legal and illegal fishing in the region.

... Those that are still caught are located at sea by more advanced technology, in operations sometimes financed by the mafia. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have said that sonar and satellite devices are now being used to identify the areas where the tuna gather. While legitimate international exports of fish have doubled in the last two decades, that of tuna has nearly trebled. The trade in bluefins is especially lucrative. ...

Pablo Neruda wrote an ode to ''the one and only pure ocean machine, unflawed, navigating the waters of death'', but a species of the tuna that inspired him could soon disappear. The common skipjack tuna found in supermarket tins is in no immediate danger, but the bluefin is now threatened in the Pacific as well as the Mediterranean and Atlantic. The rage for sushi in Los Angeles and London, as well as Tokyo, is eating away at another of nature's wonders.

The Guardian, London

July 17



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