Ocean's Growing Hypoxic Zones Threaten Tuna & Billfish Supplies

GreenTracker| Scientists are concerned that billfish and tuna are becoming more vulnerable to overfishing, as an expanding zone of low oxygen, known as a hypoxic zone and located in the Atantic ocean, is forcing them into shallower waters where they are more likely to be caught.

Acknowledging that hypoxic zones do occur naturally in many areas of the world’s tropical and equatorial oceans, scientists believe they are expanding as sea temperatures rise.

“The hypoxic zone off West Africa, which covers virtually all the equatorial waters in the Atlantic Ocean, is roughly the size of the continental United States, and it’s growing,” said Dr. Eric D. Prince, NOAA’s Fisheries Service research fishery biologist. “With the current cycle of climate change and accelerated global warming, we expect the size of this zone to increase, further reducing the available habitat for these fish.” via Science Daily

On a related note Spanish ecologists have called for an indefinite cessation of fishing for bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Cadiz and the Mediterranean.

Ecologists in Action claims that over the past 15 years, 500,000 tonnes of illegally caught bluefin tuna, with earnings of around USD 4,000 million, according to a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Governments failed to take any significant action to half the fishing of bluefin tuna, whose stocks have depleted by 85 percent since 1970.

The World Wildlife Fund has called on global citizens to “commit themselves to the sea, by avoding the most threatened species such as bluefin tuna, eel, caviar from wild sturgeon and turbot” during the holiday season.