Why protecting the bluefin tuna is important to the health of humans and the oceans

Bluefin tuna are top ocean predators and epic swimmers and can be found in many waters including the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean.  They are among the largest of the tuna species and are highly sought after menu items at sushi restaurants.  This greed has left the bluefin tuna in peril and pushed to the brink of extinction due to decades of rampant overfishing.

Unfortunately, since the late 1950’s due to overfishing the bluefin tuna stocks have plummeted by more than 75 percent. Predominantly caught by industrial longline fishing, the quest for bluefin tuna also kills thousands of sea turtles, birds and other marine life as accidental bycatch.

In danger of extinction, the bluefin tuna is also potentially hazardous to humans since they contain very high amounts of the neurotoxin mercury.  One of the largest of the tuna species, bluefin tuna often contains mercury levels nearly triple that of the more common yellowfin and skipjack tuna.  Mercury contamination of seafood is a widespread public health problem, especially for women of childbearing age, pregnant and nursing women and children.  Mercury ingestion can lead to memory loss, developmental and learning disorders, vision loss, heart disease and, in extreme cases, can result in death. To learn more about mercury levels in bluefin tuna and other fish species, please visit www.gotmercury.org

What can you do to help save the Bluefin Tuna?

•    Do not buy, eat or serve bluefin and sign the seafood pledge at www.gotmercury.org

•    Boycott restaurants and seafood retailers who serve and sell bluefin tuna

•    Sign up at www.seaturtles.org to take action and learn more about the plight of the bluefin

•    Avoid other high mercury seafood such as swordfish, shark and other species of tuna to help protect yourself against the hazards of high-mercury seafood

To learn more please visit www.seaturtles.org and www.gotmercury.org

To download a PDF version of the Bluefin Tuna Fact Sheet please click here