Why It Matters
Tuna are Valuable
Once considered a low-value substitute for other fish like salmon and sardines, tuna catches have been increasing rapidly ever since canned tuna took off in the 1970s. World tuna catches have been increasing constantly and rapidly. The U.S. alone imported 314,863 metric tons of tuna worth $1.3 billion in 2010.
Demand Continues to Grow
Fresh and frozen tuna consumption has increased over time, especially in North America, Japan, Western Europe and emerging economies. As a result of globalization of food culture and health food preferences, fresh tuna is now prevalent in restaurants and supermarkets worldwide. Your favorite tuna melt sandwich likely comes from either skipjack or albacore, while the tuna you grill or find in sushi is yellowfin, bigeye or bluefin.
Tuna are Key Marine Predators
Tuna are a top predator and food source in the marine food chain and help to maintain a balance in the ocean environment. Ocean predators keep populations of marine life in check to prevent an upset of the ecological balance. Overfishing poses serious threats as loss of predators, like tuna, allows populations of prey species to expand. This then can lead to a destabilized food web and marine environment.