In honor of World Tuna Day, it is important to highlight the value of seafood beyond our plates. Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), a popular catch in high-end sushi markets, is listed under the IUCN as an endangered species because of overfishing and illegal fishing. Bluefin tuna are an apex predator in the pelagic (i.e. open sea) ocean environment. An apex predator is important to the ocean ecosystem by keeping other species populations in balance, and thus regulating the entire ecosystem at multiple levels . Bluefin tuna are migratory and can dive to tremendous depths of ~3000 ft (914m) deep, meaning they may be regulating different populations of smaller fish, squid, eels, and crustaceans (i.e. crabs, lobsters) . Sushi-lovers can still enjoy delicious seafood confections sustainably by following Seafood Watch recommendations and contribute to the survival of bluefin tuna and ultimately the ocean by always asking the server, “what are your sustainable fish options?”
Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau
Relevant Social Media: @MontereyAq @SeafoodWatch @HopkinsMarine
- Pleizier, N.K., Campana, S.E., Schallert, R.J., Wilson, S.G., & Block, B.A. (2012). Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) diet in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the Eastern Scotian Shelf. Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Science, 44, 67-76.