A new study finds that tuna harvests, including of some species considered "vulnerable," have increased by an astonishing 1,000% in the last 60 years — a rate that some scientists warn is unsustainable.
Kiyoshi Kimura, president of sushi restaurant chain Sushi Zanmai, displays a 612-pound bluefin tuna at one of his restaurants. The company he runs paid a record $3.1 million for the popular but threatened fish.
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Tuna are arranged prior to the first auction of the year at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan. The new agreement to protect Pacific bluefin tuna is aimed at putting the species on a path to recovery by setting sliding catch limits.
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Kiyoshi Kimura (center) poses with the Pacific bluefin tuna he won for about $632,000 at the Tsukiji fish market's annual New Year auction. The fish weighs about 466 pounds.
Pacific bluefin tuna for sale for $2.99 per pound at the fish market in San Diego. That shockingly low price does not reflect the deeply threatened state of the bluefin population.
Clare Leschin-Hoar for NPR
The IUCN says the Atlantic bluefin tuna is endangered. Its stocks have declined globally between 29 percent and 51 percent over the past 21 to 39 years, according to the conservation group.
Yonathan Zohar, Jorge Gomezjurado and Odi Zmora check on bluefin tuna larvae in tanks at the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology.
Courtesy of Yonathan Zohar