Last Tuna II

Artists: Joao Parrinha & Xandi Kreuzeder
Location of temporary exhibition: Oceanário de Lisboa, Portugal
Material: iron and rusty tuna cans
Size: L 250 cm x  H 120 cm
Location of temporary exhibition: Oceanário de Lisboa, Portugal

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What is the state of bluefin tuna?

  • Since the early 1900’s when factory fishing was introduced, the bluefin numbers been reduced by 90% and in the Mediterranean it is down to 97%.
  • Between 1970 and 1998, there was 70% drop. This shows the rapid acceleration of the decline.
  • In 2009, 72% decline in the Eastern Atlantic, and 82% decline in the Western Atlantic. Same year,  Monaco formally declared as endangered.
  • At a United Nations-backed conference aimed at regulating international trade in endangered species, the total ban on bluefin tuna fishing and trading was rejected on March 18,2010. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted 68 to 20 with 30 European abstentions.

Who is  fishing them?

  • Australia, Cape Verde, Croatia, Cypress, Greece, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Oman, Panama, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey.  Half are operating in the Med.
  • Japan and Australia are the largest fisheries.

Who is buying the bluefin tuna?

  • They are used for sushi, sashimi and steaks. They are prepared in sushi as hon maguro or toro (tuna belly).
  • It is a $7.2 billion industry around the world.  The largest consumers are Japan.
  • The suppliers are marine fisheries, not fish farms.

Toxins in bluefin tuna?

  • There is elevated levels of mercury and PCBs in bluefin tuna.  It should be avoided.

Why is bluefin tuna crucial?

  • Bluefin tuna matures slowly and they are less resilient to fishing pressure.
  • As part of the ocean’s ecosystem, they are needed for preys and predators in the oceans.

How are the bluefin tuna fisheries regulated?

  • The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is an inter-governmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas.
  • Unfortunately, the international organization managed the underreporting of juvenile catches and illegal fishing.  The fishing takes way exceed the international quotas.

How are they caught?

  • Overfishing with hi-tech commercial fishing fleets and rampant illegal fishing will make the bluefin populations vanish from Mediterranean waters. They are in great danger.
  • The bluefin tuna fishing were traditionally caught with traps. Currently, purse seines are used instead and then the fish are transferred to tuna farms in cages to be fattened up.
  • They are caught with purse seines, longlines, troll lines, and trap nets. Sometimes harpoons, handlines, pole-and-line, and nets.