Pacific bluefin tuna no longer listed as 'vulnerable'

By The Yomiuri Shimbun

Pacific bluefin tuna are on the path to recovery, according to the latest update of the Red List of Threatened Species compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a group of governmental and environmental organizations.

IUCN changed the classification of the species from "vulnerable" to "near threatened."

A popular sushi topping, Pacific bluefin tuna are widely caught in waters around Japan, with some also caught in Mexico.

According to estimates, the global stock of parent fish was about 160,000 tons in the 1960s, but the number had plummeted to about 10,000 tons by 2010.

Because of the need for increased international protection, the IUCN in 2014 designated the species as "vulnerable," the lowest of the three risk levels of endangered species.

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, an international conference that discusses resources management, reduced fishing quotas among other measures to address the decline in tuna stocks.

In the latest Red List update, the IUCN reassessed the species and moved it to "near threatened," citing the impact of countries that have been "enforcing more sustainable fishing quotas."

However, it also pointed out that the "species remains severely depleted at less than 5% of its original biomass," and called for continued protection.

Meanwhile, the Komodo dragon has moved from "vulnerable" to "endangered," one level higher, on the latest Red List.

The IUCN warned that rising global temperatures and subsequent sea levels are expected to reduce suitable habitats for the world's largest lizards, which live in Indonesia and can grow up to three meters in length.

In total, 38,543 species are threatened with extinction, according to the Red List.

Read more from The Japan News at http://the-japan-news.com


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