How sustainable is tuna? New global catch database exposes dangerous fishing trends

How sustainable is tuna? New global catch database exposes dangerous fishing trends

How sustainable is tuna? New global catch database exposes dangerous fishing trends

Tuna at the Tsukiji fish market in Japan. Photo by Humanoid one, Wikimedia Commons.

Appearing in everything from sushi rolls to sandwiches, tuna are among the world’s favourite fish. But are our current tuna fishing habits sustainable?

Probably not, according to a new global database of tuna catches created by researchers at the University of British Columbia and University of Western Australia.

In a study published in Fisheries Research, scientists from the Sea Around Us initiative found that global tuna catches have increased over 1,000 per cent in the past six decades, fueled by a massive expansion of industrial fisheries.

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Cautious fish evolve out of marine reserves

Photo by Matana_and_Jes, Flickr

Photo by Matana_and_Jes, Flickr

New research supports the creation of more marine reserves in the world’s oceans because, the authors say, fish can evolve to be more cautious and stay away from fishing nets.

The research suggests that by creating additional “no-take” areas, some fish will stay within marine reserves where they are protected from fishing. While other fish will move around the ocean, these less mobile fish will continue to live in the protected areas, pass this behaviour on to their offspring, and contribute to future generations, increasing the overall stock.

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The Women in the Sea Around Us

It is no secret that the proportion of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is much lower than that of men. According to the global non-profit organization Catalyst, women accounted for less than a third (28.4 per cent) of those employed in scientific research and development across the world in 2013.

In Canada specifically, the percentage of women working in the STEM fields has increased only by 2 per cent in the past three decades to 22 per cent in 2015 from 20 per cent in 1987.

Things are slowly improving, but there is still a long way to go. This is why at the Sea Around Us we thought it was important to introduce you, our readers, to the female scientists whose work is key to the success of our project.

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