Good news for the ocean as tuna species bounce back from the brink of extinction

Rosie Frost

The Atlantic and Southern bluefin tuna are showing signs of recovery from overfishing. They have been hunted by commercial fishing companies for decades but now it’s hoped they might not go extinct.

The news comes from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which has just released an update to its Red List. This list shows the extinction risk of thousands of species around the world.

Unfortunately, more than 38,000 species are still facing the threat of extinction, but there were signs of recovery for some. In 2011, most species of tuna were considered to be at serious risk of extinction.

In this update, the status of seven commonly fished tuna species was reassessed and there was good news for four of them. The Atlantic bluefin tuna moved from Endangered to Least Concern and the Southern bluefin became Endangered rather than Critically Endangered. Both albacore and yellowfin tunas went from being Near Threatened to Least Concern.

“These Red List assessments are proof that sustainable fisheries approaches work, with enormous long-term benefits for livelihoods and biodiversity,” says Dr Bruce B Collette, chair of the IUCN SSC Tuna and Billfish Specialist Group.


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