"Endangered-Species Status Is Sought for Bluefin Tuna"

"Fearing that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will deal a severe blow to the bluefin tuna, an environmental group is demanding that the government declare the fish an endangered species, setting off extensive new protections under federal law.

Scientists agree that the Deepwater Horizon spill poses at least some risk to the bluefin, one of the most majestic -- and valuable -- fishes in the sea. Its numbers already severely depleted from record levels, the bluefin is also the subject of a global controversy regarding overfishing. ...

In fact, scientists say, it is virtually certain that billions of fish eggs and larvae have died in the spill, which came at the worst possible time of the year. Spawning season for many fish in the gulf begins in April and runs into the summer. The drilling rig exploded on April 20, and the spill has since covered thousands of square miles with patches of oil.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations tried to win greater international protection for the bluefin, but their efforts were derailed by opposition from countries like Japan, where a single large bluefin can sell in the sashimi market for hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Andrew W. Lehren and Justin Gillis report for the New York Times June 23, 2010.

 

Thursday, June 24, 2010