The importance of sustainable tuna fishing

The United Nations (UN) established World Tuna Day on May 2 to raise awareness on the sustainability issues surrounding tuna, and drive conservation management in the fishing industry. It was observed for the first time in 2017. Ian Chai from the S.E.A. Aquarium conservation team shares with us more about the importance of tuna and sustainable fishing.


Some species of tuna are becoming endangered

Tuna is one of the world’s most widely consumed species of fish, deemed as a seafood delicacy in many cultures.

Tuna sashimi is a very popular Japanese delicacy around the world.

To keep up with the skyrocketing demand for Tuna, supply chains are known to use fishing techniques which unfortunately result in two major issues:

  1. Overfishing – this has become a growing issue in recent years as tuna population has declined more than 98% since it’s record high.
  2. Indiscriminate fishing – techniques including Longlines, Gill nets and Purse seines have continued to plague the fishing industry as they tend to also haul up other marine species along the way, including endangered species. Dolphins, sharks and turtles are also regular victims of such indiscrimnate mass fishing methods.

A sustainable tuna population is important to humans

Tuna at Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo. Thousands of tuna are sold at this famous wholesale fish market every day. CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Tunas are an integral part of the marine food chain. They are among the top predators in the ocean, in particular the Bluefin tuna which comprises of the Southern, Atlantic and Pacific Bluefin. Overfishing has caused some species of Tuna to become endangered (Atlantic Bluefin) and even critically endangered (Southern Bluefin), resulting in an imbalance of the marine eco system.

Sustainable fishing and sustainable seafood sources play an essential role in the conservation of our marine ecosystem. As consumers, one of the easiest ways to do our part is to select seafood with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification – a sure sign that the seafood you eat can be traced back to a sustainable source.

Marine Stewardship Council MSC
Look out for the MSC label. Screen grab from CNA Insider video

Sustainable seafood is one of the 3 priorities of Guardians of the S.E.A.A.

Apart from marine plastic pollution, sustainable seafood is also one of the three priorities of Guardians of the S.E.A.A., the marine conservation group under S.E.A. Aquarium.

On 30 November 2017, Guardians of the S.E.A.A. organised a special event called What the Fish?! in collaboration with the Marine Stewardship Council, Republic Polytechnic and S.E.A. Aquarium curatorial department to educate members on sustainable seafood. Here, aquarist Priscilla Seah spoke about sustainable practices within the S.E.A. Aquarium, including sourcing for sustainable fish feed.

If you’d like to learn more about  sustainable seafood and marine conservation, join Guardians of the S.E.A.A. and be invited to members-only events such as workshops, sharing sessions with industry experts and leading marine biologists, beach cleanups, reef cleanups and more.

Check out our current and upcoming events here.


Want to read more about sustainable seafood? Check out these articles:

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